Cyprus // Larnaka and around //

The Costas Argyrou Museum

Just before Mazotos village (if you end up on a dirt track, you’ve gone too far), is the excellent Costas Argyrou Museum. Costas Argyrou was a local man, born in 1917. During his fifties he visited Larnaka’s archeological museum, which inspired him to devote the rest of his life to art. Untrained and working in the naive tradition, he started producing the range of paintings, sculptures, mosaics and woodcarvings now on show here. The themes are religion, mythology and the history of Cyprus, all created with an understated sense of humour and an eclectic use of materials. Next to the museum is a small church in which the artist had wanted to be buried along with his wife (he died in 2001). The authorities refused permission and he was buried in the local cemetery, so now two empty tombs take up the central floor space. There’s a final footnote to this remarkable story. Argyrou designed the museum building himself, but, being as untrained in architecture as he was in art, it now has all sorts of structural problems which are plaguing the museum’s administrators. Clearly naive architecture (like naive brain surgery) doesn’t work.

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