`Myths' as Seen through Eyes of Children: Greek Tales Depicted in World Bank Exhibit

By Bowers, Paige | The Washington Times (Washington, DC), October 14, 1997 | Go to article overview

`Myths' as Seen through Eyes of Children: Greek Tales Depicted in World Bank Exhibit


Bowers, Paige, The Washington Times (Washington, DC)


Cypriot President Glafcos Clerides seemed a bit envious last week when he told an audience that myths and legends always precede history.

"It took Hercules one hour to clean this stable," Mr. Clerides said, standing in front of a Cypriot girl's vibrant, detailed depiction of the myth. "And it's taken me years to clean up the civil service."

The tale of Hercules isn't the only myth brought to life with the artwork of Cypriot children in the World Bank exhibit "Myths, Legends and Stories: Through the Eyes of the Children of Cyprus," on display until Sunday . Odysseus, Zeus, Poseidon, Theseus and others can be found in the bright colorful brush strokes.

"Myths and legends always precede history, in the same way that dreams precede reality and imagination precedes thought," Mr. Clerides said at the exhibition's opening at the World Bank.

"Don't try to find in these paintings a deep inspiration and a philosophical meaning and expression. Try, and you will certainly find the sensitivity of the children's soul, the openness of the children's heart, the limitless pace of the children's imagination and the impressive frankness of the children's thought and speech, through vivid and eloquent colors."

The paintings, done by elementary school children in the tiny village of Emba in western Cyprus, were inspired by Greek myths their headmaster, Stavros Manolis, told them in class. The 2,000-person village has an annual festival featuring children's art, music, poetry, theater and dance to honor those who lost their lives in war.

Festival paintings grabbed the attention of Cyprus' first lady, Lilla-Irene Clerides, who decided to promote children's art on the island and became the driving force behind the exhibition.

One hundred and twenty of the children's paintings are given to the Education Ministry each year, and some of them were chosen for display in this exhibition.

With the help of World Bank officials and Cyprus' ambassador to the United States, Andros Nicolaides, Mrs. Clerides brought the exhibit to Washington - the first time the paintings have been shown outside of Europe.

"Despite their age, these young artists have portrayed the myths and legends of our heritage in a way that shows a remarkable understanding, not only of our age-old history, culture and tradition, but also the lessons to be drawn from these myths," Mr. …

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