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Stass Paraskos (1933) is one of the leading artists of Cyprus, although much of his life was spent teaching and working in England.

Paraskos was born in Anaphotia, on the Mediterranean island of Cyprus in 1933, the son of a shepherd farmer. He went to England in 1953 and became a cook in his brother's restaurant in the city of Leeds. This was a popular haunt of the local art students who encouraged Paraskos to enrol for classes at Leeds College of Art. Despite not having the usual entry qualifications, Paraskos was spotted by the college's inspirational Head of Fine Art, Harry Thubron, who made certain Paraskos was accepted.

In 1966 Paraskos was involved in a notorious court case in which it was alleged he displayed paintings that were 'lewd and obscene', in contravention of the Vangrancy Act of 1823. The court case was one of a number of important legal challenges to the freedom of the arts in the 1960s and 70s, starting with the Lady Chatterley trial in 1960, and ending with the OZ magazine trial in 1971. Despite luminaries of the art world speaking in Paraskos's defence, including Sir Herbert Read and Norbert Lynton, and messages of support from Britain's Home Secretary Roy Jenkins, Paraskos lost the trial and was fined five pounds.

After this Paraskos started teaching at Leeds College of Art, and later at Leicester polytechnic, before becoming a Lecturer in Fine Art at Canterbury College of Art. When Canterbury College of Art became Kent Institute of Art & Design, he was appointed a Senior Lecturer in Fine Art and then Head of Painting, before returning to Cyprus to run the Cyprus College of Art on a full-time basis.

Paraskos's style of painting is figurative but non-naturalistic, and he uses bright colours to describe scenes which often seem rooted in his childhood in Cyprus. He is also influenced by the Byzantine church art of Cyprus, and modern masters, such as Paul Gauguin and Henri Matisse. Despite primarily being a painter, in 1992 he began work on an abitious sculpture wall, in the village of Lempa, on the west coast of Cyprus. This wall is made of found and recycled everyday objects, and comprises a mixture of abstract and figurative forms, including a King Kong-sized gorilla, a pigmy elephant and a giant pair of welcoming hands. The wall is twenty metres long and up to four metres high.

In his book Aphrodite : The Mythology of Cyprus the late George Thomas, 1st Viscount Tonypandy, a frequent traveller to Cyprus commented: "...Greek mythology provides an eternal fascination... Stass Paraskos, one of Cyprus' most distinguished artists provides in this book an exciting recital of the influence Greek mythology has brought to bear on Greek Cypriot development..." This book makes an excellent read and it is an ideal reference book.

Paraskos has exhibited widely, including in Cyprus, Britain, Greece, the United States, Brazil, India, Denmark and elsewhere, and in 2003 was the subject of a book by the distinguished art historian Norbert Lynton, published by the Orage Press.

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