The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation is one of the most important cultural institutions in our country

You recently took over the management of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation which turns 40 this year. How do you assess its course and its work?

The Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation is one of the most important cultural institutions in our country. This is evident from its uninterrupted presence in Cyprus’ cultural life over the last 40 years. Since its establishment in 1984, the Foundation has developed a rich and diverse activity in various fields of culture, while consistently and creatively serving the goals that were set by the Bank of Cyprus upon its establishment. The main goals are the promotion of research, study, and the promotion of Cypriot culture as well as the study, preservation and promotion of our cultural heritage. Its significant contribution to the country is shown by its rich and multidimensional collections, its thematic museums, its significant reference publications, exhibitions and educational and pedagogical activities.

Have you planned any events in order to celebrate this anniversary?

As you are aware, this anniversary coincides with another very sad anniversary for our country, the fifty years since the Turkish invasion. The Foundation has engaged itself with this tragic event that indelibly traumatized our country. Thus, on the occasion of our forty-year anniversary, we have decided to organize a major exhibition entitled "Cyprus Insula: History-Memory-Reality" by using our collections and the rich archival material that we have available. The aim of the exhibition is to depict life in Cyprus - in a modern and interactive way - from antiquity until today, having as the underlying message the non-negotiable unity of the island of Cyprus. The exhibition seeks to contribute to the preservation of the memory of the occupied territories and at the same time to highlight their timeless contribution to the unified cultural character of Cyprus since antiquity.  

What are the future goals of the Foundation?

The Foundation's Board of Directors aspires to further strengthen our significant presence on the cultural map. We are thus moving forward in an open, scientific and creative manner which respects the past and looks toward the future at the same time.  The next few years are decisive for our development. On the one hand, the emblematic and historic building of Faneromeni is granted in its entirety to the Foundation. We are therefore proceeding to design an integrated building masterplan, which will include the energy upgrade of the building, the re-exhibition of collections by using technology, interactivity, multidisciplinarity and interdisciplinarity. We plan to reopen our scientific reference library, to further develop our publishing program, to reopen ‘Aeriko’ – the restaurant on the terrace of Faneromeni – and the ‘Agora’, the Foundation's shop. Through a modern digital ecosystem, we would like to provide access to our archives and collections both to scholars and researchers, as well as the public in general. We are also organizing international scientific conferences and exchanges on an annual basis on topics related to our collections: archaeological, cartographic, numismatic, cyprological, ethnographic and art collections. 

How would you describe the relationship of Cypriots with culture? What is the role of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation in this relationship?

The thousands of years of Cyprus’ continuous cultural history define and determine this relationship. Our greatest ambition is to be an open institution that is accessible to as many people as possible. Both to persons with specialized and scientific interest as well as to the "general public", and especially to the younger generation who I believe will respond very positively to our new image because with the proper use of technological developments we can become very attractive to the "difficult" younger audience. Through our pioneering actions such as the multisensory program entitled "Senses" that we have been operating since last year, we also provide accessibility to the museum to persons who could not easily enjoy the museum experience. Our field and horizons are open; by strengthening our relationship with the local community we would like to create a friendly and familiar environment, which meets the today’s and tomorrow’s needs.

Dr Yiannis Toumazis

Director of the Bank of Cyprus Cultural Foundation