Maria Hadjiathanasiou


The study offers an examination of Cyprus’s participation in the Colonial and Indian Exhibition of 1886 and the British Empire Exhibition of 1924 in London. Drawing on unpublished archival material, the study investigates for the first time the history of Cyprus’s exhibition representation and explores the colonial government’s early steps in cultural policy. By assembling and examining the Cyprus pavilions’ exhibits, architecture, decorations and exhibition catalogues, as well as the official correspondence, the study forms the following argument: Cyprus, at the 1886 and 1924 exhibitions, was curated, displayed and performed through the British imperial gaze. The exhibition committees were responsible for selecting what they considered characteristic specimens of Cyprus’s historical past and colonial present. The study argues that a perceived identity for Cyprus, conforming to the imperial agenda of colonial development and profit-making, was projected and communicated to British and foreign audiences through several and diverse visual media.



Cyprus, British empire, exhibition, colonial, cultural policy, art, identity, Palestine

References prefixed ‘SA1’ refer to unpublished Cyprus colonial government documents preserved in the Cyprus State Archives (CSA), Nicosia.

Subject Index 1886; List of Exhibitions and Fairs between c.1910 and 1949, Chief Secretary’s Old Card Index, Principal Cutting No.21 Industries & Trade (Publicity), Sub-section No.21.7 Exhibitions & Fairs (R.B.38); SA1: 1890/1886; SA1: 1966/1886; SA1/473/1919/1; SA1/473/1919/2; SA1: 1191/1926/1; SA1: 659/1937.

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