Never Mine, 2016
Video, duration 13 min. 16 sec.,
video editing Christos Andreou
Mixed media, milk powder.
More Milk, 2022
Wood, metal, ink, paper
Courtesy of the Artist.
In the triptych installation Metallum Terrae, a video projection, Never Mine (2016) and two object-oriented installations Milk (2022) and More Milk (2022) coexist, whereas in the video projection Never Mine, two parallel but opposing narratives run side by side as a single historical reality.
The first narration starring the director of the Cyprus Mines Corporation (from 1923 to 1925) at the Mines of Skouriotissa, Charles F. Jackson, presents a detached and factual account, through the voice of his grandson C. F. Jackson, who reads the original written diary of his grandfather. In this narrative we follow an account, free from any emotional charge for the human suffering that the extraction of the minerals entailed.
The second narration is by a miner, Pantelis Varnava. The actual voice of Pantelis Varnava from a documentary film of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour “Miners Memories”, reveals the tragedy, human suffering, and often the demise of the miners in the depths of the earth as well as the relentless exploitation of its resources.
The two narratives demonstrate the two faces of the mining industry in Cyprus: On the one hand, human suffering and on the other, the exploitation of human and natural resources. In both narratives, exploitation emerges as a dominant element of the mining process in the colonial history of Cyprus. The object-oriented installations Milk (2022) and More Milk (2022) attempt to connect the visitor with the materiality of the suffering and inhumane conditions that the miners and their families endured during the miners’ strikes of 1948. In retaliation, the mining companies went as far as depriving the miners’ children of milk!