Nico Carpentier, a Belgian professor is a researcher and writer known for his books on media.
After four years of studying at different universities in Cyprus, he collected his observations on the island in two books and shared it with all of Europe. Finally, he came to Limassol as an exhibition curator with his project on multicultural democracy, which he named ‘Respublika’.
Carpentier carried the concept of democracy to a different dimension this time with ‘Respublika’.
With the details of the project, he shared important findings about Cyprus. First of all, Carpentier who wrote dozens of books about the media and contributed to this field through his research said:
“I have a bit of a mixed past, if I can describe it as an education. I read several parts at the same time. I have a master’s degree in philosophy, politics and social sciences, international relations and in addition to economics. I entered academic life very early. I started to work as an assistant during my studies. Then I got my professorship at Uppsala University in Sweden. Academically, I have done a lot of research to date. I have worked hard on the dark and light aspects of life. I have observed that on the light side of life, there are issues such as democracy, participation, empowerment of society in the political sense, and conflict, confusion and trauma in the dark side. I have also done a lot of work on alternative and community media.
“… I decided that Cyprus was the best place for the exhibition with the ideas I had in Cyprus. For this, I have worked with activists and different non-governmental organisations to find out how democracy works through them and how we can make use of the information we read in books. As a result, this project, where different groups took part, emerged. Thus, observing what the social media is in Cyprus and what contribution it contributes to democracy, with the support of artists, the Respublica Project has become a form of wide participation.
“I worked to discuss the concepts of democracy and participation in Cyprus and to contribute to the strengthening of different groups on the island by demonstrating the importance of democracy to societies. By combining all these ideas with art, I made it possible to reach more people. The Respublika project is a work that brings together sixteen different titles and has different ideas, different groups, different studies in itself. I, once again, showed everyone with this project that participation was very vocal and how democracy was developed.
“…With Respublika we removed the borders altogether. We opened the doors of our show to artists and democracy and participation from not only the Cypriots but the different countries of the world.”
The professor’s most impressive work on this exhibition was the photo project that explains the division of Cyprus.
Referring to the divided island, he says that “the solution is actually a cultural process to be achieved over a long period of time. In order to realise this process, people need to have more conversation, talk, move together. At this point, civilian collaboration is a great duty. Although there are some bi-communal groups, the number of people in them is very limited. The important thing is to include more people in the solution process and look for the solution for ourselves. Take control of the solution, work together” is his motto.