Mary Louise Chojnowski. Aims and projects.
I work as a community artist and I create my own artworks for exhibitions and private commissions. I get a lot of inspiration from working with the community, especially young people and children. My connection with schools began when I had my own children, and has grown into a career of community projects. I spent over 10 years in London with schoolchildren making large scale public pieces of art. Some have won awards for the schools. I aim to create work which the children and schools will always love and be proud of, at the same time as showing children: the life & skills of an artist, how a workshop functions and how important their creativity is for society.
I believe I will always be actively involved in education, and ensuring creativity is nurtured in our schools. My ambition now is to work with many more young people here in Cyprus and to make more public artworks for the Paphos region which will be treasured for years to come.
I am currently working with the children at the International school in Paphos to transform the exterior of their building with mosaics.
I love the process of transforming towns and cities through the creativity of the people who live there, and now there is a real need in our societies for creative thinking and a sense of responsibility for our community. The most amazing part of working with young people to create public art is the sense of pride and ownership they feel for what they have created.
My link with Cyprus comes from many years ago when I chose to study classical languages (greek and latin) and classical history & art for my degree in the early 1990’s. I have always been inspired by classical arts, mythology and philosophy. This passion for the ancient world, its religion and evolution to the modern day appears in much of my art. I also use and teach techniques learned about ancient art (e.g; iconography and mosaicing) in all my projects. So often, the children get a lesson in art history too.
My skills have also been useful in my work with the Greek Orthodox church in London, where I was commissioned to produce major mosaics (10t x 8ft) for the altar at Sts. Constantine & Helen, SE London, where there is a large Cypriot community. Understanding the meaning and forms of religious art and mosaics is vital before embarking on church projects. I have taken the opportunity of my stay in Cyprus to improve my knowledge of religious art by studying the art of iconography with one of Paphos’ most proficient iconographers, Mr Nikitas Eleni.
I produce reproductions of ancient mosaics, mainly due to demand. My own art is often symbolic, and I enjoy creating my own pieces of mosaic art as well as painting in different media. I have been regularly exhibiting paintings in and around London alongside my community projects with councils, schools or churches. Exhibition venues from 2000 to 2009 included the Horniman Museum , The Croydon Clocktower, Jeannie Avent Gallery, East Dulwich, The Dulwich Picture Gallery, The Brixton Open, C.P. Artists Open, as well as privately organised exhibition events.