Melina NicolaidesACTIVATE Nonprofit Arts Organization
Melina Nicolaides, originally from the island of Cyprus, was born in Washington, DC, and moved to New Delhi at the age of seven. Her childhood years were spent in Asia, followed by secondary education in Geneva, and completion of her studies at the British School of Rome. She has a BA in History from Princeton University, obtained with the thesis, “A problem of Authenticity and Representation in a 19th century Vision of the Orient” as considered through Verdi’s opera ‘Aida.' Following an extended training-period in Brussels at the European Union in the sectors of communication, information and cultural heritage, she went on to receive a multi-disciplinary MFA from Baltimore’s Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), attended with an A.G. Leventis Foundation Scholar Fellowship. She earned the institution’s 1997 Graduate Award in Painting.
As a visual artist, her work has been exhibited in over 50 exhibitions internationally, in the USA, Europe, Middle East, North Africa and Asia. She has received multiple governmental and institutional art grants (painting/film/installation) in Cyprus and the USA, including three from the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities. Parallel to her arts practice, she participated in cross-disciplinary seminars/conferences with topics, such as art for conflict resolution, art as activism and art to communicate the sciences, which expanded the scope and purpose of her work and enquiry. Following a move to reside in her homeland of Cyprus for the first time, she established the ACTIVATE Nonprofit Arts Organization as a platform from which to develop research-based projects that address and bring awareness to pressing issues of the Eastern Mediterranean and Middle East and North Africa (MENA) area. At present, her focus is on initiating multi-disciplinary collaborations which bring together people from diverse fields of knowledge to build solution-seeking projects relating to water, food and energy security for the region.
In addition to the Future Earth MENA Regional Centre's city project at the 2017 Seoul Biennale, Melina Nicolaides curated projects for the cities of Nicosia, Athens and Alexandria at this exhibition, and presented a separate live project entitled “Going Beyond Sustainable: water. soil. land. food” about the escalating resource crises of the region.