Memorial to the dead and missing

Μνημείο πεσόντων και αγνοουμένων (1)n Μνημείο πεσόντων και αγνοουμένων (5)n Μνημείο πεσόντων και αγνοουμένων (6)n OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Artist: Vasilis Kattos 

Location: Yiannos Kranidiotis Αvenue, Latsia. Nicosia district 

Category: Turkish Invasion

Photography: Evangelia Matthopoulou

This memorial could define the epitome of the Cypriot mother’s identity. The memorial brings together the distillate of the national symbols constructing a concise visual narration of the Greek Cypriot identity. A hexagonal marble pedestal mounted on a low base and delimited by an equal number of Doric-like columns carries four massive Cypriot women who share the weight of an extra size bronze torch on their backs. The women, all in typical peasant dresses, struggle under the weight of the torch, striving to balance it and safeguard its flame. The six metopes between the Doric-like columns are decorated with low reliefs capturing iconic images of the Cypriot tragedy: wire fences; dead bodies; symbols of martyrdom; the idealized female figure of victory or motherland embracing the souls of her fighters; wailing women in front of a church; and soldiers at the peak of battle. 

Apart from the apparent physical weight the gigantic torch implies, its’ symbolic weight serves as an allegory of heroism and of the sacrifices required in order to ensure the historical continuity and the safety of the homeland. That sacrifice is mirrored on the bodies and faces of these women, and inextricably testifies to their role in the ethno-nationalistic rhetoric. 

On the one of the six metopes it is written: “To you who have not died, to you who are not alive, to you who did not get a proper burial, to you whom I wait for” (Σε σένα που δεν πέθανες, σε σένα που δε ζεις, σε σένα που δεν τάφηκες, σε σένα που προσμένω). Below that, on a scroll framed by a laurel wreath there is a second dedication: “Whoever you are… Wherever you are… Whatever you are… You, Mother… Love” (Όποια και να σαι… Όπου και να σαι… Ότι και να σαι, Μάνα εσύ … Αγάπη).

The unveiling took place on July 26th 1996.