Bernadette Divilly - An Artistic Response

Im April this year Dance Ireland Member Bernadette Divilly atteneded Eco Art Incubator Cyprus: Sites Embodied (14th-19th April 2017) and EDN /Atelier Akamas : Nature Embodied Cyprus (20th-23rd April 2017). This was supported by Dance Ireland and Dance Gate Lefkosia (EDN Members). Below, is a thoughtful and insighful respone to her expereince.

Bernadette Divilly - An Artistic Response

I am an English-speaker looking for a language to connect me with soul. Thelanguage of the body is direct poetry. Raw and real in action,deep in emotion an agent for transformation. Memories without words surface and dance. I am part and apart in this curious dance an eco -inquiry. 

Photo Credit: Yiannas Avraamides - Still from ​ ‘​ Σπίτι’ (Home) video

Androlikou 1

Aroused by the heat of desire
distilled by wear
days and nights dreaming

I am attracted by the smell 
Of a living house
Touched by crumbling walls and the 
Cracks that have their way 

Doorless doorways
Welcome warm winds
to flirt with flesh
heat from the earth is ever present
Eyes sit in the window
wait at the poets place
attentive to the flow of the bees
coming and going among the ghosts

A belt of wind 
sudden sensation 
travels across
the surfaces of my heart 

the poet’s words linger 
“For all your dreams
The nests of your eagles
Are empty​"

(From the ‘Elegy of Haido’ by Tefcros Anthias (1928-1962) )

I respond to an invitation to engage with the “tangible and intangible web of sensory, spiritual, cultural, historical, ecological and economic complexities of the area” ( See: EDN Atelier and Atelier Akamas.​ with a full heart. A future of eco-tourism through natural building education, organic farming and a centre for cooperation and cultural bicommunal interaction between Turkish and Greek Cypriot peoples is being imagined. Culturally this is a contested place. Human loss is soothed by ​ soundscapes of bees and goats and humans being in the abandoned village of Androlikou in Akamas. My gratitude to Arianna Economou, the artistic director and curator of Sites Embodied Cyprus, runs deep for the invitation to be here. Here, I am in the Eco Art Incubator intensive with NancyHolmes and Denise Kenney (University of British Columbia).  

Daily tasks bring people and place into deeper focus. Asked by Denise to describe home without naming the place - home is my body felt sense of a circle of people listening. We sit outside. A warm wind sweeps up the valley to the empty schoolhouse and each person’s description of home touches me. I smell goats and cinnamon a description of  a young dancer’s home with her grandmother. Loss of cultural roots - creating international art tribes searching for home. We are 20 people each, with body, influence and opportunity.

On the trail up to Sotira mountain, Yiannis Avraamides (CY) and I talk meditation and natural building and we decided to collaborate on a small dance video project using the abandoned home of Tefkros Anthias. We make video piece titled ‘​ Σπίτι’ (home) with Nefeli Tsouti (CY). Later I am a dancer in her work ‘Landprints’. Yiannis and Nefeli take the editing work to Nicosia. I create an Eco Arts Participation sharing with the local community with an  Irish title called ‘​ Slán Abhaile’​. My methodology includes silent walking, contemplation of movement, body, place and being at the poet’s house. Young and  old participate in writing poems and leaving them in the walls. It’s a continuation of conversations with and without words. With and without easy translation. The atmosphere is concentrated and I fill with joy being witness to the young carefully choosing spaces to shelter their poems.

(Photo credit: Justyna Ataman)

Androlikou 2


“For all your dreams
The nest of your eagles
is empty”

My soul wanders

Out into the courtyard
Through the square
Climbing the hill 
Seeking upwards across
 the yellow meadows
a summer of hope
in blue skylines

I search for the return of the eagles 
“Slán abhaile”* safe home 
Revolving dreamscapes 
Clouds, touch, tremble and rain 

- Bernadette Divilly  (IR) April 2017  

Photo Credit: Yiannas Avraamides - Still from ​ ‘​ Σπίτι’ (Home) video

*‘Slán Abhaile’ is a common Irish expression meaning ‘Safe Home’ and used when people are traveling. In my body, it also connects to intergenerational emigrations and migrations. (Pronounced slaan awaallya)