The sculptor, engraver, painter and author, Andy Adamos, was born in Paphos in 1936 and passed away in 1990.
He studied Graphic Arts and Sculpture at the Durban Technical College, in South Africa, from 1955 to 1957. From 1959 to 1963, he studied Sculpture and History of Art, at the University of Natal-Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. In 1963, he worked as an assistant lecturer in the Department of Sculpture at the University of Natal, South Africa and in 1964, he worked at the Archaeological Museum of Olympia, Greece.
From 1965 to 1970, he taught art at schools in Cyprus. In 1970, he did a Master’s degree at the University of Natal, South Africa and, from 1970 to 1972, he worked as Head of the Department of Sculpture at the Durban Technikon, South Africa.
At the end of 1972, he returned to Cyprus and taught Sculpture at his studio in Famagusta. In 1974, he left Cyprus as a refugee, after the Turkish invasion and taught sculpture at a studio in Johannesburg. In 1980, he returned to Cyprus and settled in his home place, Paphos.
He won the first prize at the International Biennale of Cairo, in 1986.
In 1982, he published his first book titled “Sknipoyak”, which won the Cypriot State Award for Literature. In 1988, he published his second book “Krepello”, and in 1990, his third one “Zanzouera” written in the Cypriot dialect.
“Love the material you work with and respect it”. That is the credo that guides the artistic creativity of Andy Adamos. It is evident that as he works he is directed by the essential nature of the material and his love and respect for its inherent properties.
When he works in wood or clay, he challenges the material which returns the challenge. In this case he is more interested in the inner strength of the material, the movement, the light, the mystery of the cavity, the rigour of the cleft, the tenderness of the swelling bulge.
However, Andy does not only possess the instinctive ability to empathize with his material but also the astonishing creative skill and vision to mould it into forms that are solid, balanced, powerful, a fusion of idea and material. When his prime materials are clay, plaster or ciment-fondu, he is concerned solely with “man”. Man climbing, falling, hoping, flying, fighting. Man suffering and struggling to survive in a world of violence and injustice.
Adamos has been pursuing his art quietly without any self-promotion. It has been a career which, because of his artistic integrity, has never decimated into the by-ways of commercial get-outs. Even his obligatory travels, which naturally giving an extra nuance to his work, have not prevented him from following a superbly direct and forceful hard- working thrust into the toughest visual art form and come out triumphant.
This work of his, with its formal virtues and its universal messages, gained him the first prize in Sculpture at the 2nd International Biennale of Cairo in 1986.
Apart from his three-dimensional sculptures, Adamos also creates wood reliefs that can be described as drawings on wood. Here, we can appreciate other aspects of his many talents, the solid, virile, powerful and intelligent draughtsmanship and his skill as a colourist.
Andy Adamos was fortunate to have as teachers, Mary Stainbank, who studied at the Royal College with Henry Moore, and John Hooper, a student of Henry Moore. Thus the influence of the greatest sculptor of our century in his work is no surprise.
Moreover, like Moore, Adamos loved and was influenced by the powerful primitivism of African sculpture, which he knows well since he lived for many years in Africa where he studied. In his powerfully expressive work there are references, as a mark of respect, to those who have influenced his formal vocabulary.
Adamos’ fertile imagination is not only confined to the plastic arts but also extends to literature. One of his books of short stories earned him the first prize by the State Awards of Literature.
Andy Adamos, a sensitive artist who can express himself equally well in visual forms and in words, has, through his own interaction with the world, given us works which have the stamp of universality, because they express the concerns of an artist of our age, a citizen of the world.
Cultural Officer of the Ministry of Education
“Even in his books, Andy Adamos does not fall to the triviality that kills liveliness and truth, not for one moment. His book “Sknipoyak” is beyond any conventionality. In here the unpredictable, the daring, the paradox are dominant.
An unmoulded imagination reconstructs and recreates, before us, another world seen through a fresh, authentic point of view. This imagination, is composed with a demonic sense of humour portrayed in a rich, succulent language.
In “Sknipoyak” there is also sarcasm, discreet, multi-layered and original. Sarcasm which is the safe haven for truly concerned human beings, in order to handle the constant threat of crushing beneath the many external and internal conflicts.”
(From the prologue of “Sknipoyak”, 1982)
ONE MAN SHOWS
1970 Jack Heath Gallery, University of Natal Pietermaritzburg.
1972 Neil Sack Gallery, Durban, South Africa.
1979 N.S.A. Gallery, Durban, South Africa.
1980 Polytopo Gallery, Limassol, Cyprus.
1981 Zygos Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus.
1985 Rembrandt Gallery, Nicosia, Cyprus.
1988 Weihergut Gallery, Salzburg, Austria.
1963 “The Art of South Africa Today”, Durban, South Africa.
1973 Sao Paulo Biennale, Brazil.
1974 “Cyprus, the Sun Kissed Island of Aphrodite”, Budapest, Hungary.
1974 Biennale of Small Sculptures, Budapest, Hungary.
1974 10th Alexandria Biennale, Egypt.
1978 Akis Gallery, Johannesburg, South Africa.
1982 Cypriot Artists exhibition, Athens, Greece.
1983 Biennale of Small Sculptures, Budapest, Hungary.
1984 Pocitelj, Yugoslavia.
1986 Cairo Biennale, Egypt. He won the first Prize in Sculpture.
His last exhibition was in the first week of November 1990, at the Kyklos Gallery in Kato Paphos, Cyprus. He remained active and loyal to his art where he organized and produced this exhibition himself, despite being at the last stages of his illness.
Andy Adamos passed away on the 29th of November 1990, leaving a legacy filled with a volume of sculptures, wood carvings, engravings, drawings, paintings and three books, as a testimonial to his many talents, his spirit and his life lived with passion, creativity, love and light.