Costas Mantzalos

Graphic Arts in Cyprus since 1960

When: Friday 15th March, 2019
Where: Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation


In an effort to ‘construct’ a country just after the end of colonial rule, many aspects of the society such as art and design had to be readily adapted from other countries’ experiences, without being given the appropriate importance or significance. Cypriot graphic design was not ‘born’ in Cyprus but was imported from abroad. Cypriot graphic design for instance did not grow out of a cultural need for communication. It grew largely as a ‘decorative’ activity, which had to adjust to a developing post-colonial consumer society. Cypriot graphic design will not mature unless both its aesthetic and communication values are regarded as equally important.“...the borderline work of culture demands an encounter with ‘newness’ that it is not part of a continuum of past and present. It creates a sense of the new as an insurgent act of cultural translation. Such art does not merely recall the past as social cause or aesthetic production; it renews the past, refiguring it as a contingent ‘in-between’ space, that innovates and interrupts the performance of the present. The ‘past-present’ becomes part of the necessity, not of the nostalgia of living.” (Bhaba, 1994) The presentation is illustrated with visual examples of works from the 1960s till present.

Costas Mantzalos was trained as a visual artist and also specialized in information design in the UK. His academic career started in 1989 at Frederick Institute of Technology in Nicosia, Cyprus, where he still resides until present. Between, 2008 - 2016 he was the Dean of the School of Architecture Fine and Applied Arts, of the Frederick University in Nicosia Cyprus. As Dean of School, he was responsible for 2 departments (Architecture and Fine and Applied Arts) and liaised mainly with the Departmental Chairs in order to promote teaching and research. He resides in the Department of Fine and Applied Arts and he is an Erasmus Academic Minister, dealing with partner Universities in the UK, France, Germany, Finland, Holland, Spain, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Austria. His teaching and research involvement revolves around the areas of interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and learning. Main teaching area is in Information Design and Research Methodologies for postgraduate students and the teaching pattern has always been characterized by a variety of methods, which contributed to efficient and exciting teaching and learning as well as the promotion for visual intelligence, literacy and competence. Parallel to his academic career, Costas Mantzalos is a design consultant for international organizations such as Hilton Hotels, Tetra Pak, Unicef, as well as the cofounder of the TWO|FOUR|TWO art group, a two-person group working as an entity. An arts collective with national and international personal shows and participations.

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