Hello everyone! I will try to briefly introduce myself in the following lines as good as I can. As you should have already read in the title, my name is Damianos Zisimou. I was born and grew up in the warmth of Nicosia, Cyprus in the eastern part of the Mediterranean. As soon as I finished high school I moved to Italy to study Fine Arts in the Academy of Fine arts of Rome with a specialty in painting. When I finish my studies in Rome I returned to Nicosia where I prepared and presented my first exhibition. Living and working for almost a year as an artist in Cyprus was amazing but settled in a small island such as Cyprus for more than a year was not something I was ready to do.
View from Nicosia
The year in Cyprus was quite productive and very useful to my research as an artist. I realized that just painting was not enough anymore. I needed to do more. Experiment new medium and new approaches to art. That’s why I left Cyprus again and I went far away from the warm climate of the Mediterranean. I moved to Rotterdam and I started a master program in the sociology of arts and culture. Paying attention to sociological research has been a quite revealing experience helping me to redefine who I am and how I do art.
My art is still evolving and constantly changing. My main interest lies in the formation of collective identity through memory, the personal narratives and the construction of self. How do people make sense of who they are, where they belong. I exhibited my work in various group shows in Italy and Cyprus and I presented a major show in Nicosia. I am currently working on a project named ‘Aesthetic migrant’ and it is a multidisciplinary project studying the constant need of artists to move, and make a living through their art, a collaboration between 2 visual artists and a poet. The first part of the project was presented last year in Nicosia and the next one will be presented this Autumn in Rome.
From the project ‘Aesthetic Migrant’ as it was presented in Nicosia in 2018
My academic research lies always in the formation of collective identity and one’s own identity and recently I started being particularly interest in the Postcolonial studies. I am currently working on my premaster-thesis project trying to examine the ways contemporary Middle Eastern artists are being presented in the West.
The residency on the island of Lesvos would be a great opportunity to further expand my interests and also put research and art practice together. I am quite interested in getting to know the island, hear the stories of its people, and see how the landscape of the island changed the last years with the high flows of refugees. I am interested in how these changes in the landscape of the island affected its people and how do the inhabitants make sense of these changes. I am looking forward to further developing this project and I am quite curious to see where this path will lead me.