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” The paintings of Cypriot artist Stass Paraskos at the Gallery Caballa, Harogate, are not very good – aesthetically that is. Shapes are very simplem, tones a bit muddled, colour a bit crude. But there is a simple satisfaction, a lack of pretension about them. The subjects are always solid and real: a field, sheep and goats, a house, a woman. They are being used or are doing things, not abstracted or posed. Dug and milked and lived in and making love respectively. They are untroubled, warm, full of substance like the earth. Like the commonsense of their painter. “I am backward; not like my avant-garde friends who all do circles and squares.” He is around, with sunny eyes and a fat walrus moustache. Still a southern peasant at heart even in the  grimy brick-work, the worn grass, the cold grey light of suburban Leeds. He has the peasant’s thrift: “Always Windsor Red and Windsor Green at 3s 6d a time”. He has the peasant’s fertility:a bare house but full of children. And the peasant’s pride of possession. “That’s my field. Nothing grows there, but it’s mine.” And he points to a green patch on the canvas. He was once a sheperd in Cyprus but came to look for more lucrative work in England. Like so many immigrants he had to start as a waiter. But, quite by chance, a waitress who was also a model look him along to the art school: for the first time he discovered painting. Now he is working on his first commission: a large painting for a primary school in Cyprus. Predictably it tells a story. “Liberty is descending from the sky…a Turkish peasant has just woken up and is astonished at the vision…others do not regognise it but nature has sensed what is happening and the landscape has come alive with colour.” But his deepest ambition  is to take painting back to Cyprus. “There is no Cypriot art today”, he says. A step towards it is a Summer School he is organising with free accomodation for both British and Cypriot students. But what he really wants is to start the fisrt art school there. “I’m trying to persuade them. That’s what they need and that’s what they’ll get” ” Merete Bates, THE GUARDIAN, Friday May 22 1970

Additional information

Weight 0.632 kg
Dimensions 29.5 × 24.5 cm


EN TYPOIS, Voula Kokkinou



Print Type