Sometime at the beginning of 2018, I was asked to participate in the "Cypriot Collection" of the Imago Mundi Art project by Benetton foundation. With 150 collections encompassing 23.000 artists around the globe, a massive undertaking, and I am so happy to have been a part of it. I was in a massive writers-block at the time. My daughter was not even a year old, household chores were piling up, sleepless nights abound, a PhD to attend to, not to mention my sole source of income, teaching duties in three different University departments, each with their own set of rules and characters. I got tired just by writing that paragraph!
Despite the circumstances, I embraced the commission with both arms. I threw myself to the abyss, thinking “hey, Inal, let’s just get on and we’ll figure something out on the way there”. And that’s the way it goes for me, I am a yes-man when it comes to a call for artistic commission, or collaboration.
The brief was simple. We were to be handed a tiny, rectangular canvas, on which we were to create our artwork. There was simply no other limitation or a guideline. Looking at all the other artworks all around the world, I am amazed at the incredible work people has done. The project is a testament to human creativity and diversity.
While the deadline approached, I was nowhere near finishing my work. I didn’t even know what to do! It was frustrating, the more I looked at other people’s work the more I felt I was no fit for this. At least not mentally, at that particular period of my life. As it often happens, a lot of artists have a magic pocket from which emerges a discarded artwork, done ages ago, long forgotten. An artist then choose to recycle, salvage, or recreate the thing altogether. And that’s what I did. It was my last resort.
I dug up the artwork I did for the cover of my piece “Sample and hold my heart”, a collage of MS-20 cables, and S&H circuit design, with an old paper look thrown in. It was one of the very first pieces of music I wrote after returning to Cyprus, around 2011. I was settling to my new studio, with the new equipment I brought from London. In all probability, the song started while I was messing around with my new MS-20, trying to learn its parameters. At the time, I was also particularly interested with old timey American advertisements, and public service announcements. They all looked and sounded so alien to me.
For the Imago Mundi collection, I decided to go ahead and recreate the cover art of Sample and Hold my Heart on that piece of canvas, with real cables, printed letters etc. After receiving the hard-cover book of the whole Cyprus collection, I felt grateful that I didn't follow my initial hesitation, the book looked amazing, and it was great to have been a part of it. A total of 175 Cypriot artists have submitted works, from both sides of the island (a crucial point). I don’t think I am extremely satisfied with my submission, but I wholeheartedly believe that it was the best I can do at those circumstances.