We Never Had Winners,  2021
archival pigment prints, archival pigment prints mounted on MDF board, archival pigment prints mounted on board, archival pigment prints framed in orange acrylic glass, mixed media on paster slabs, photographs transferred onto plaster slabs, digital print on vinyl, found vintage stereoview cards, plaster, brass tube, rope, glass, found concrete blocks, wood, metal
archival images: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rogers Fund, 1911 © &  The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Cesnola Collection ©
dimensions variable

We Never Had Winners acts as a starting point of reference to the three-part project titled Propaedeutics on Memorial Structures Vol. I, II & III, investigating the social, political and cultural condition of memorial monuments in Cyprus. This last part considers the monument and its extended function as an object, its symbolic use of material—an act of geological appropriation where the material itself is an indicator of an-other historical time—as if bridging the past and the future in present time. Material objects that become memory-agents, monuments, are being transformed into emotional historical artifacts through which contested history (or histories) can be constantly (re)inscribed.

Questioning the complex historical and cultural assimilation of the Greek national narrative in Cyprus—an ideology that shaped the predominant understanding of a Greco-Cypriot, or more precisely of a Hellenic identity on the island: the movement within Greek-Cypriots for the campaign of Enosis, and later for the declaration of Cyprus as an independent state in 1960—the work poses a paradoxical statement on the nation’s “failed” symbols of victory. Despite a seemingly celebratory establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, the underlying religious, cultural and political conflict amongst various groups of both Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots urged the nationalist political elite towards a passionate and immediate declaration of all those who fought for the country as national heroes. Tracing their historical context as far back as the 1821 Greek War of Independence against the Ottoman Empire, Greek-Cypriots fervently wanted to validate their own, and intensely participate in the lineage of Greek heroes. Elevating their dead war heroes onto celebrated pedestals as glorious symbols of national sacrifice and sanctity was an attempt by Cypriots to claim their virtuous right in political and national freedom, but most importantly to visibly claim and re-affirm their Greekness; one that stipulated cultural, national and religious identification with the motherland, Greece, and therefore permitted some form of participation in a glorious historical narrative.  
Employing the photographic medium as an interpretive act of the material object, space and time, the project dissects the associations between material and structure, between structure and its visual representation, and between representation and its simulated-signified historical narrative. The work adopts an artistic research approach (both in its production and presentation) through which photographs, photographic archives, found images, objects and material traces form visual constellations of selected sequences and fragmented narratives, allowing for multiple readings and associations. Images of Classical Greek sculpture, fragments of marble, fabricated artifacts, as well as visual displays of both Greek and Cypriot archaeological museums are combined and juxtaposed, with visual accounts and traces of memorial monument surfaces. Photographs and images that act as visual cues point to a research display of a museum collection, a display that brings into question both the institutional function of a museum as a cultural act, and its effect on articulating historical and cultural narratives. The constructed archive—both subjective and re-structured as artistic practice— brings into question the representation of representations; the material object and its photographic image as means of referral and reciprocal equivalences in displaying cultural residues.