This article performs a reading of Nicos Philippou’s Sharqi, a collection of 27 Polaroid photographs that depict Cyprus landscapes, and attempts to locate the work’s artistic contribution in the larger cultural context of a landscape that emerges behind a mesh of ideologies. In an island where the terrain – physical, cultural, social, political – is always already mapped in ideological coordinates that ground it politically and populate it with a homogeneous people, Philippou’s intervention in Sharqi is particularly crucial and even urgent. Philippou creates images that invite an evocation of Sirocco, a South-East wind, as a natural phenomenon whose energy creates various possibilities for artistic transformation. In the process, this collection rebels against the representation of landscape as a signifier of national(ist) belonging. The photographs in this collection occasion a re-colouring of memory, and encourage new associations and interconnections between psyche and place, imaginary topos and homeland, landscape and identity.
Polaroid, postcolonial identities, Fata Morgana, queer imaginings, simulacra, nationalism, memory
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