Each morning, the darkness retreats further against the unstoppable march of Spring. Just days after Summer Time began, there is a gathering momentum of light, and life and colour. Playing with these elements is artist Hikmet Uluçam, painting beautiful pictures with his garden.
Originally a graphic designer, Hikmet is a renowned painter and sculptor who describes himself as a man soaked in art and nature. Every April, he opens his garden in Lapta to the public to raise money for cancer research. Step inside and find Cyprus in all its glory.
Hikmet calls it his Cyclamen Festival. There are thousands of little purple pop-ups carpeting the floor. He has cultivated the rare Medos Tulip, a deep purple specimen that can turn very dark, near black, and grows only in the most secluded and untrodden fields. He is also a fan of succulents and has coaxed hundreds of cacti to life, from miniatures to the giant bushes that produce prickly pears.
“Dealing with soil takes negative energy out of human body and charges it with positive energy. This exercise helps you relieve stress and become more fit. In other words, this endeavour is a form of meditation for me,” says Hikmet. “Mankind has a talent to turn anything into a concrete pile, but he doesn’t buy a painting for his house and hang it. They don’t know how to value the greenery and the soil.”
The view from Hikmet’s home is also worth the visit, but he has relinquished an idea to turn his garden into a café or visitor centre. “Life is increasingly difficult. Finding employees is hard, investing is hard, the Turkish lira is melting day by day. For these reasons, I decided to just leave it this way. I will toil with the soil and continue to produce.”