Stuck for what to do in Cardiff this Easter? Why not check out Kyriacos Asprou and John Kiki’s art exhibition?
Nestled in Mount Square in Cardiff Bay is a cafe/bar/restaurant, Sunflower&I. The venue hosts a variety of events, from flower arranging to burlesque evenings and live music.
However today, it has doubled up as a gallery for Kyriacos Asprou and John Kiki’s exhibition.
Kyriacos greets me warmly as I arrive, and soon begins a tour of his photos. The photos are separated into locations and eras of photography, all of which are a long way from home.
Kyriacos was born and raised in Cardiff, however, his photos are taken everywhere but.
He credits his school teacher, Mr Edgley, for introducing him to photography after a tour of the darkroom.
He then studied it at GCSE and A Level, before progressing to a Bachelors degree in photography at University of Gloucestershire.
Following his degree, he was asked to join the family business in property, however, he never lost his passion for photography.
This exhibition marks his return, with a collection of photos showcasing his work from the last twenty years.
The compilation of work ranges from his GCSE years right through to present day, of photos taken in Sunflower&I.
A large portion of the photographs are from his travels in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Kenya. The latter has provided him with his favourite photo.
You’ll see this photo hanging in ‘The Kenyan room’.
When these photos were taken, Kyriacos had set himself a project to go the seven-hour drive between Nairobi and Mombasa without leaving the car and capture anything he saw.
This style of photography allowed him to observe everyday life without intruding.
“When I went to Kenya,” he explains, “It was my intention to capture poverty. But in fact, I got inspiration, it was the complete opposite. These people, no matter how poor, they’re always with smiles on their faces and they’re always hustling and bustling. It was just amazing.”
He references the differences between taking pictures on film and digital. He explains how film translates the reality of the photo more easily, but the trouble comes with getting the right shot within the 36 photos per film.
He smiles as he recalls how the wait can be worth it, “They’re now a snapshot of history.”
However, he still prefers his digital camera, stating it gives him the freedom to take as many photos necessary to capture the shot.
Kyriacos works on his photos from start to finish himself, from the initial capturing to the editing and framing.
Every frame in the exhibition has been refurbished by Kyriacos by hand.
He laughs as he admits he underestimated the time it would take, “Each frame, I thought would only take me ten minutes, but they took me forty to an hour. But I’m glad I did it because it took me on a journey with my photos”.
And it’s evident, the frames add an extra layer of love and character to his already beautiful photos.
Since 2011, Kyriacos has also worked closer to home with Cardiff-based charity Dreams and Wishes. The charity raises money for children and their families with serious illnesses.
He has photographed many of their fundraising events such as our winter cover star’s event, the Jayne Pierson Fashion Ball.
“I’m blessed,” he says as he moves to the final section of the gallery, the family section.
Having been born deaf and with kidney problems, Kyriacos appreciates everything, especially his family.
His wife runs a blog allthingsahabi, which records their family life through blogs and photographs taken by Kyriacos. He credits this to giving himself the confidence to share his work.
He says on her blog, “I wear a hearing aid, having been born deaf and therefore love being able to capture what I see around me without the distraction and noise from the world interfering, I believe that my disability is my strongest asset.”
It’s evident that his two girls, Georgiana 8 and Chanel 5, as well as his wife, are all comfortable in front of his camera, with both daughters showing an interest in their father’s work.
He recalls his youngest, Chanel, made him take her around the exhibition and explain where and how every photo was taken.
Some of his photos are also a collaboration with his uncle, John Kiki.
John, a fine artist, has painted on top of Kyriacos’ film print. This adds another dimension to the photos and creates a fresh interpretation of an old photo.
The exhibition was originally due to run for a month, however, it’s now two months later Kyriacos says the photos will still be there for people to enjoy a little longer yet.
Until then, check out the exhibition for yourself:
1 Mount Stuart Square
All of Kyriacos and John’s work is available to buy from a limited run of 36 each. You can purchase the photos from Sunflower&I, or email Kyriacos on firstname.lastname@example.org.