The cultural organization CYPRECO of America, Inc presented with great success at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, NY its new folk arts program dedicated to the unique craft of silk making and weaving on Cyprus. Under the title, “Cyprus In the Silk Routes”, the event which was offered with free admission as a public service, featured the screening of a documentary under the same title which revived and highlighted all aspects of the traditional methods of silk manufacturing and weaving on Cyprus, an ancient craft that was once thriving on the Mediterranean island and which is currently under the threat of extinction. A large crowd comprised by Greek Cypriot Americans, Greek Americans and members of the general audience, including several dignitaries, officials and leaders of the Greek and Cypriot American community attended the enjoyed the screening.
In welcoming the crowd, Ms. Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO and Executive Producer of the event, thanked everyone for their attendance and acknowledged the presence of all dignitaries and special guests. Ms. Maroulleti also expressed special thanks and gratitude to the Board of the Federation of Hellenic Societies for their hospitality and “for always embracing and supporting the organization’s cultural and folk arts public service activities” which in their majority are given at the Federation’s Stathakion Cultural Center. Ms. Maroulleti also invited all to start making reservations for CYPRECO’s upcoming programs, “Weaving Ladies of Cyprus” scheduled for June 3, 2011 with free admission and “Concert/Tribute to Apostolos Kaldaras and Stavros Kouyioumtzis” scheduled for November 4, 2011 with a $25 admission. Both events will take place at the Stathakion. For more information and to RSVP please visit www.aktina.org
On the occasion of the event, CYPRECO was honored with Proclamations issued by New York State Senator Michael Gianaris and New York Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas, recognizing “the outstanding service” of the organization through the ongoing production “of unique free folk arts programs that promote and preserve Cypriot and Greek culture and folklore for over 30 years”. Both officials also recognized the importance of CYPRECO’s folk arts series, “Cyprus, Its History and Culture Through the Ages” which celebrates this year its fifth anniversary.
In his Proclamation State Senator Gianaris who was represented by his Chief of Staff Mrs. Irene Stathatos, also acknowledges and recognizes CYPRECO as “a significant cultural institution for all it has contributed to the residents of New York State”.
In her Proclamation Assemblywoman Simotas who was represented by her staff member Theodore Kasapis, further recognizes that CYPRECO, is among “the dynamic cultural institutions” which “are truly the lifeblood of our communities and our state” and that CYPRECO “through the production of unique free performances which address and service annually over 5,500 Greek Cypriot Americans and Greek Americans of all ages has had a profound impact on society”. Both officials also recognize in their Proclamations that, the screening of the documentary “Cyprus In The Silk Routes” is “another example of CYPRECO’s commitment of providing public service cultural and folk arts programs to the community” and the fact that CYPRECO “has touched the lives of countless people is worthy of special recognition”.
There were greetings from the Consul General of Cyprus to N.Y., Ms. Koula Sofianou, the President of the Cyprus Federation of America, Mr. Peter Papanicolaou, the Cyprus Trade Commissioner to N.Y., Mr. Aristos Constantine, te President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies, Mr. Elias Tsekerides and the President of the Cyprus Children’s Fund”, Mr. Savas Tsivicos. All speakers congratulated and praised CYPRECO for its unwavering commitment of providing on an ongoing basis “such unique folk arts programs that truly preserve and promote the rich heritage, folklore and culture of Cyprus in America’.
After the screening, Elena Maroulleti, President of CYPRECO shared her personal story about raising silk worms in Cyprus when she was young and then she unveiled a very unique piece of art with silk cocoons handcrafted in 1982 by a refugee from the Karpass peninsula in northern Cyprus which is under Turkish occupation since 1974 and where this craft was once thriving. As Ms. Maroulleti explained, this piece of art was donated to CYPRECO’s folk arts collection by the former Archbishop of Cyprus, the late Mr. Chrysostomos. Ms. Maroulleti also presented a sheet made of silk which was had woven by her great-great grandmother which is a family heirloom and which was saved during the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus by her late mother Lucy Maroulleti.
The documentary, “Cyprus In The Silk Routes” by Cypriot filmmaker Stavros Papageorghiou offers a thorough inside look how the folk tradition of silk production and manufacturing of silk textiles in Cyprus evolved from ancient times. It also highlights the importance of the Cyprus silk industry which has played a very significant role on the economic life of the island throughout the centuries. The documentary showcases very rare scenes of silk production and weaving with selected interviews from craftspeople and traders from the last generation of silk producers some of whom are refugees from the northern part of Cyprus which is under Turkish occupation since 1974 and where this craft was once thriving.
“Cyprus In The Silk Routes”, was made possible in part through partial funding provided by Arch Capital Services, Inc., and the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs and through the support of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York.