Let’s talk about peace over dinner: A cultural experience on memory, dislocation and the politics of belonging in Cyprus
On Saturday 9 April 2011, Greek Cypriot artist Lia Lapithi invited a group of eighteen guests to join her for her own version of the Last Supper, a four-course dinner that took place in the warehouse of an old furniture factory in Nicosia, Cyprus. The dinner was the first project of a series of orchestrated meals that Lapithi hosted and participated, where the theme was hospitality and politics in Cyprus.1 Significant to Lapithi’s work are autobiographical experiences and the geopolitical division of Cyprus. Born in 1963 in Cyprus, Lapithi experienced at a young age the traumatic 1974 division of Cyprus and the on-going occupation of half of the island by Turkey.2 This article explores the significance of an orchestrated meal for the politics of belonging and remembering in contemporary Cyprus. It analyses the representation of the event by Lapithi, who engaged in questioning the meaning of peace by serving food as a ‘medium’ and as a ‘symbol of peace’. It also explores Lapithi’s strategies in communicating her own memories and experiences as a refugee who can visit her family’s house over the occupied northern side of Cyprus only as a guest. Through the discussion of food/taste and visuals, this article will consider how the dinner acts as a means of catharsis for the participants and develops a critical understanding of contemporary events in Cyprus and our reaction to them.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: October 1, 2017
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- The course of cultures at both local and global levels is crucially affected by migratory movements. In turn, culture itself is turned migrant. This journal will advance the study of the plethora of cultural texts on migration produced by an increasing number of cultural practitioners across the globe who tackle questions of culture in the context of migration. They do this in a variety of ways and through a variety of media. To name but a few relevant aspects of this juncture of migration and culture, questions of dislocation, travel, borders, diasporic identities, transnational contacts and cultures, cultural memory, the transmission of identity across generations, questions of hybridity and cultural difference, the material and oral histories of migration and the role of new technologies in bridging cultures and fostering cultural cross-pollination will all be relevant. Methodologies of research will include both the study of 'texts' and fieldwork.
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