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Vintage poster art recalls fond memories of Cyprus

19 Dec 2014

Artist and Melbourne Polytechnic Visual Arts teacher Con Emmanuelle is a romantic at heart. 

Born in Melbourne to parents who emigrated from Cyprus, he embarked two years ago on what he calls “possibly the most exciting art project of my life”, creating a series of vintage-style travel posters about his parents’ homeland as it existed before 1950.

“Cyprus did not actually have a tourism industry until 30 or so years ago,” said Mr Emmanuelle, “So there are no vintage travel posters in existence. I’m hoping to recreate or reinvent the past, so to speak.”

Cyprus has had a turbulent history, primarily due to its location in the Mediterranean and the inclination of other powers to take control of it. 

Through a series of original drawings, poster art and photo reproductions, Mr Emmanuelle seeks to reveal a way of life that was rich with tradition and cultural identity.

“For example, before 1950 Muslims and Christians coexisted in relative harmony, families stuck together, community engagement was strong, children played outdoors, people ate what they produced,” he said.

“It was clear to me that my parents and their generation would be the last witnesses of this authentic cultural landscape and lifestyle that was Cyprus.

“This exhibition is not just a celebration of the past but also a reminder of how to reconnect with our family and the world around us in a way that makes us appreciate each other and ultimately be more grateful with what we have.”

Con makes it his goal to impart the same passion for his art into the students he teaches in the Illustration and Visual Arts program at Melbourne Polytechnic. 

‘Tales of Cyprus’ has been generously supported by the City of Stonnington through a Cultural Arts grant, and is now showing at Chapel Off Chapel Gallery in Prahran.

Dates:  9 December  –  11 January *
Open:  10-5pm Daily
Cost:  Free
*Note:  Venue closed 20 Dec – 4 Jan

For more information about Melbourne Polytechnic’s Visual Arts courses, please visit our website at or call 03 9269 1200.

Mr Emmanuelles’ blog for the project is at

For more information about the exhibition at Chapel Off Chapel, please visit


Media enquiries should be directed to Melbourne Polytechnic Communications Officer, Anita Coia, on 03 9269 1251 or ua.ud1477466999e.tim1477466999n@aio1477466999catin1477466999a1477466999

Melbourne Polytechnic (formerly NMIT) operates across six campuses and six specialist training centres throughout Melbourne’s north and south east plus a regional campus at Ararat. The institute delivers high quality vocational education in industry-standard facilities.