The Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia ‘scores a goal’ into culture with the presentation of its unique exhibition On the Field: Football – History – Nicosia.
However, one can’t help but wonder… why ‘On the Field’?
This new temporary exhibition reveals the history of football in Cyprus, having at its core the capital of the island, Nicosia. Yet, the title of the exhibition underscores its multifaceted interpretations, aptly pointed out by Antigone Heraclidou, one of the exhibition curators:
This exhibition is about football fans. Or not. It is about the people of Nicosia, as well as about every Cypriot. During kickoff time the ball is placed in the centre of the field. In this exhibition, football is in the centre of the capital, in the centre of sports activity and sometimes in the centre of political developments. Yet it is also in the centre for its fans, who watch with anxiety and pleasure. We hope that it is also in the centre of fair play and certainly away from football-related or other extremes.
The coverage in the exhibition begins in the early years of British rule, when an unknown foreign sport was introduced to Cyprus, spreading and developing rapidly. Up to the early 1930s football gradually turned from a casual game played in rudimentary fields into the most popular sport on the island. The dynamic of football captivated everyone, and the game became the sport that simultaneously united and divided thousands of Cypriots. Football was adored by all social classes, but no one can deny that its great appeal was that it also reflected the political balances and controversies of the time. The research reaches chronologically up to the early years of the 1960s. In other words, the exhibition touches on a period of political turmoil and intense rivalry that not only disrupted the conduct of football matches, but also caused great splits in the sport.
In the extensive timeline of the exhibition On the Field: Football – History – Nicosia, the curators have succeeded in gathering rich documentation and fascinating exhibits, loaned by government organisations, private collectors, football players, sports clubs, sport associations and the teams of Nicosia. Photographs of significant historical football events, memorabilia, footballs, shields, trophies and shoes magnify the chronological stations of the exhibition and the milestones of football in Cyprus.
Specifically, in this exciting exhibition we will learn about and see many unknown aspects of history unfolding. We will discover how football was played at the English School, we will gather information about the first gymnastics associations, such as the Olympia Gymnastic Association (GSO) and the Pancyprian Gymnastic Association (GSP), we will follow the founding of such clubs as the Enosis Neon Trust (Trust Youth Union) and we will especially focus on the creation of the first Nicosian football teams – Olympiakos, APOEL, Omonoia, Achilleas, Orfeas and Çetinkaya – as well as other teams that played football in the city of Nicosia.
It’s an invitation-challenge provoking us to view football under a different light, through an unconventional glance, through a penetrating look, able to extract Cypriot football from the restrictive frame of the football field, intending to emphasise its historical essence in order to offer an exceptional and diverse museum experience.
The exhibition was curated by Antigone Heraclidou, Senior Research Associate of the CYENS Centre of Excellence, Maria Patsalosavvi, Curator of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, and Chrysostomos Sakallis, Collections Registrar of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia.
The general coordination of the exhibition was organised by the Director of the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, Tzeni Lymperopoulou Savvidou, with the valuable contribution of Maria Patsalosavvi, while the Director of the Anastasios G. Leventis Foundation, Loukia Loizou Hadjigavriel, and the Director of the A. G. Leventis Gallery, Demetra Theodotou Anagnostopoulou, consulted on its planning.
The support of George Meletiou, with his contribution to research and lending of photographic material, was particularly important in the creation of the exhibition.
Throughout the duration of the On the Field: Football – History – Nicosia exhibition, the Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia will hold special guided tours, creative workshops for children, lectures and other events. The public can find the detailed programme on the Museum’s website (leventismuseum.org.cy), as well as on its the social media pages (Facebook / Instagram: @leventismuseum).
The exhibition is accompanied by a publication including rich photographic material, with an essay and short texts by Antigone Heraclidou.
Exhibition duration: 17 December 2022 – 30 April 2023
Location: The Leventis Municipal Museum of Nicosia, Temporary Exhibition Hall,
15-17 Ippokratous St, Laiki Geitonia, 1011 Nicosia
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10.00-16.30
Sponsor: The A. G. Leventis Foundation
Media sponsor: Phileleftheros, Goal.news and Goal.com.cy