From October until mid-November 2015, Carol Archer was artist-in-residence at Boubouki Cottage in the tiny Cypriot village of Mesana. Nestled in the mountains to the north of Paphos, the village has only around twenty full-time inhabitants. The population swells when families return to relax, take part in religious observances, and to tend trees – mainly olives and almonds – that have been in their families for generations.
The landscape near Mesana is characterised by its stark light, vivid blue skies, dry rocky ground, and most of all, its many olive groves. Walking here, one is enveloped by a silence that is only occasionally broken (hunting days aside) by the soft thuds made by olives hitting tarps, and the conversations of the families who’ve come to harvest their trees. The forms and longevity of these trees – some hundreds of years old – is due in part to the people who tend them; and the life of the village is sustained by the trees. Carol’s paintings and drawings from this residency centre on Mesana’s olives, almonds and Calabrian pines. Each 21 x 15 cm in size, Carol’s paintings from this residency employed ink and watercolour on paper.