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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 02 March 2019
PHOTOGRAPHY 14 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 2 MARCH 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Students of MUnGA helped organise and set up the exhibition. “Greeks. Romioi. Ellines”... Who are we now? Yiannis Dramitinos’ photographs capture the pain and adventure of lost homelands MARY SINANIDIS myself – asked me what part of Greece I was from. "I was born in Constantinople," I said. "You mean Istanbul? B In Turkey? So you're not Greek. You're Turkish!" One thing lead to another and despite my profuse historical explanations dating all the way back to the Byzantine Empire, she ran around the playground chanting, "You are Turkish!" Others chimed in. And that's when I realised that having clear geographical boundaries was needed to legitimise one's cultural identity. The pain and nostalgia of belonging to a homeland that doesn't exist was rekindled through the photographs of Yannis Dramitinos in the exhibition titled "Greeks. Romioi. Greek Australians" that will be heading to Sydney's Kudos Gallery this month after a stint at ack in the Seventies, a fellow fifth grader – a diasporan like Melbourne's Steps Gallery. Organised by university students old enough to be the sons and daughters of my fifth grade playmate, it occurred to me that the third generation of Greek Australians have evolved and are better equipped to understand and identifying with it," Dramitinos told Neos Kosmos. Young diasporans' better understanding of their own roots is not perceived by Dramitinos as "a return" but as a "necessary existential step to better understand who you are". Looking for an identity is like being Alice in Wonderland. I love Australia because it has given me such a Wonderland. Photographer Yiannis Dramitinos and navigate diasporas. Cretan-born Dramitinos agrees. "Second-generation Greeks were unable to truly identify with their motherland or Australia. This new generation is more secure and more focused when exploring its own past and interacting "Looking for an identity is like being Alice in Wonderland," Dramitinos said, and much like a visit to Wonderland, the 27 photographs on display open cultural windows to lost homelands in Constantinople (aka Istanbul), Cyprus and other foreign lands. These are captured with simplicity but tell a complex tale of upheaval. And the display itself is a bridge between homelands to show younger generations how important it is to keep something of your identity even when the place you come from is one that is lost, that you've not visited, and that no longer exists. "Why am I doing this? My son was born in and is growing up in Australia. Cockatoos are the first birds he heard when leaving the neonatal clinic. For him, they will always be part of who he is. Cockatoos will always be exotic for me. I am trying to bridge these two different experiences," he said. Though the cackling of Photographer Yiannis Dramitinos with his works at Steps Gallery. PHOTO: MARY SINANIDIS cockatoos are sounds taken for granted by students of the Melbourne University Greek Association (MUnGA) and Macquarie University Greek Association (MUGA), they are also intrigued by the double-headed eagle that looks in both directions and never dies.
23 February 2019
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