[In this second part of our project documenting the manikins of Old Nicosia, we leave the seedy fashionless backstreets of South Nicosia for the seedy fashionless backstreets of North Nicosia. Both Parts 1 & 2 originally appeared in Arteri Magazine Issues #6 and #7.]
TEXT: MAX SHERIDAN
PHOTOS: THEOPISTI STYLIANOU-LAMBERT
A multi-purpose manikin, Doctor Feelgood is doctor, patient and extraterrestrial bounty hunter rolled into one. Fortunately for the seeker of shopfront oddities, he isn't alone. His vitrine-mates include: a similarly attired man astride a mobile potty, arms raised in mute supplication; a grinning skeleton; a dark-complexioned zombie in a surgeon's gown; a muscular young man with a stethoscope and exposed buttocks; and a spooky three-dummy simulation of what appears to be a vivisection.
MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT #32
No truly macabre shopping experience would be complete without at least one manikin whose torso has been chopped off at the waist. The beauty of this arrangement, however, is not the lone pair of size-two legs——a common enough sight in North Nicosia——but that the passerby is treated to both a pair of severed legs and the stump of a torso at one glance. And in a matching jogging suit no less. Highly recommended.
THE MARLBORO MONSTER
Low-street fashion and anti-tobacco rhetoric meet in this highly disturbing bust. Tucked away in a quiet alley where reluctantly employed purveyors of designer knock-offs suffer from the July heat, the Marlboro Monster is the crowning achievement in decomposing dummies.
THE MESA OF LOST WOMEN
Bald, erotic, incarcerated, the Lost Women are perhaps the only plastic ladies in the souk that offer an integral, non-decomposing view of manikinity. This particular shop, in additional to the sturdy Kale lock, was outfitted with an alarm, iron bars, fire sprinkler, and possibly a meurtriere. The stunning, almost aggressive, grace of this Amazon in red with her nickel-plated buckle and lush décolletage is everything a horribly maimed dummy can aspire to.
If there is a direct correlation between unfashionable clothing and the shabby state of the manikins exposing it to the public, this picture says a thousand words. More like a troupe of ritually maimed Persian slaves at auction, or the calcified remains of a Pompeian household, this miserable quartet is thankfully hidden away from public view in an alley where the shade alone can burn a hole through your shoe.
Halloween is long gone and yet this tiny, large-headed homunculus has remained——barefoot, unpitied, his little polyester suit bubbling in the dust-laden heat. Whatever incentive to enter a shop this perplexing figure represents must be one of merchantkind's best kept secrets. On the other side of the door is his similarly piteous counterpart: a dirty, bald little girl without a nose.