Artist's website

​Soteris Phoraris

​​The world around us has become a document of marks made, artifacts left by millennia of humanity. This need for creation is not a measurable tendency; it comes from a source that could be called primal, but in seeming juxtaposition, exists as a measure of a civilization, and culture. I could not sum my cultural influences into one unified deduction. Life has privileged me to be able to identify with two distinctly different cultures. I can easily define myself as American or as Cypriot, or in many cases both.
This privilege though is a result of a violent displacement of my immediate family from their homeland. I have not only seen my country's conflict first hand by serving in the Nation Guard of the Republic of Cyprus, but I have also seen other people's plight due to Cyprus' proximity to the Middle East, that makes it a refuge for individuals seeking political asylum. Because of the fore-mentioned experience I have seen, and been exposed to these movements of populations and the human drama associated with it. My choice to depict refugees and immigrants, and the concept of the movement of populations as a result of violent action, serves a multiple purpose in my art. It is to an extent my disdain towards the depiction of war; entertainment-prone and devoid of human repercussions. For this reason I chose not to label the subjects in my work for the fear of making my statement political and diluting the human emotion of which I would like to emphasize.
Secondly it becomes a dialogue of heritage, an immediate and intimate personal history. Although I am first generation immigrant as a result of violent displacement, I found it difficult to understand the chaos (physical and psychological) which my family was subject to. A complete lack of artifacts of personal history, my heritage is one based on oral narrative. This evolved into a mythology that has defined my perspective on my place of origin. Furthermore what I create becomes hopefully, a journal of this personal unwritten history. I can not ignore the fact that the path that my life has transversed is a result of this motility. As I have mentioned above, I can identify with two very distinctly different cultures, but unable to immerse completely into either. It seems the violence my family was subjected to becomes a point of stigmatization for succeeding generations. I would like to engage the viewer in a discussion on a macro societal scale that at the same time intertwines (each individual being a thread that is removed from the weave and integrated to another) and fabricates a micro societal, and personal introspective discussion about origin, belonging and personal history.

Exhibitions

2013:
  • Origin Unknown, Thiseas Gallery,Limassol, Cyprus (solo show)
2012:
  • Cheap Art, Cheap Art Gallery, Athens,Greece (group show)
2011:
  • Cheap Art, 50-1 Gallery, Limassol, Cyprus (group show)
2009:
Borrowed Ground, Battleground, IN, U.S.A. (Group installation show, the only non-grad that participated under special permission from the head of the Visual Arts Department).
2008:
Look, Rueff Gallery, Purdue University,West Lafayette, IN U.S.A. (group show)
Tippecanous Rex,(Group Show) Tippecanoe Art Federation galleries, Lafayette, IN, U.S.A.
2007:
Annual Purdue University Art Exhibit, (Group Show, awarded first place in drawing) Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, U.S.A.
Invading Space,(Group Show) Lala Gallery, Lafayette, IN, U.S.A.
2006:
Annual Purdue University Art Exhibit, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN, U.S.A.
  • 2005:
Art and Science, (Artists' curated show, that collaborated with scientists/ engineers), Lafayette, IN, U.S.A.

Permanent collections:
Purdue University's permanent print collection, intaglio and lithographic prints

Artist's statement