Andrea was born and raised in Nicosia, Cyprus. She obtained her BA in Painting at the Edinburgh College of Art in Scotland and she has just now completed her MA in Painting at the Royal College of Art in London. She currently lives and works in London.
My work stems from my heritage and my homeland. An island country confined not only by the physical boundaries of the Mediterranean Sea that surrounds it, but also by man-made borders, dead ends and city walls that expose the island’s ancient and contemporary wounds of conflict and division. The 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus split the island in two, with almost half of its territory remaining under Turkish occupation to this day. Nicosia, my home city, is the last divided capital in Europe. The local armed forces and the UN, as well as the barricades, buffer zones, no man’s land and the green line, are all normalised sights for my generation. It’s all we have ever known. The occupied half of Cyprus exists only as a distant, mythical land, which found new life through the stories of those who remember it.
The unique geographical location of Cyprus serves as a crossroads between Europe, Africa and the Middle East, resulting in a diverse collection of ethnic and religious groups that call this island their home. The assortment of clashing cultures and characteristics that are incubated in this melting pot of an island feeds my work, as the ongoing struggle for identity between the East and the West, Christianity and Islam, Turkey and Greece as well as Cyprus itself, is a conflict that fragments both my home and my mind. I have consistently tried to make amends with my country and all its natural and man-made borders, as they seem to want to cut me off from the rest of the world and from people who are apparently different to me because of their ethnic origin, religion and language. In my work I embrace fragmentation, stories that are broken and unresolved, yet meaningful and sincere. I aim to interrogate the world I was raised in and the life that I grew accustomed to, challenging and defamiliarizing the conditions of growing up and entering adulthood during my sheltered years in Cyprus, followed by a new-found sense of responsibility and independence at University, while also coming to terms with broader concepts like war, separation, xenophobia and isolation.