Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 30 March 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 30 MARCH 2019 15 TRAVEL Silk routes, travelling with textiles mulberry trees in the 8th century, the production of silk has been very much at the centre of the city's industry and its culture. After the silk trade reached its peak in the 15th century, Valencia's Golden Age, silk remained at the heart of Valencian traditions. The elaborate gowns made of silk satin are works of art worn by 'falleras', 'Queens of Falla'. Hence, the area was considered the ideal place for a meeting on the development. While Australia's silk F Patches of pink across the landscape. A magical and romantic environment. trade is not well-known, from a fashion and design standpoint, the country could not be missing from a discussion on the history of silk for an interactive online Atlas that follows ancient and modern 'Silk Roads' that UNESCO organised for Valencia, Spain, from 14 to 16 March. Greek Australian artist and curator Elizabeth Gertsakis was invited to the UNESCO meeting that is significant for connections in both tourism and trade being established in Europe and Australia related to the 'One Belt, One Road' (OBOR) initiative which is a foreign policy and economic strategy of the People's Republic of China. Valencia was chosen as the site for a meeting to "Textile, Clothing, and Accessories along the Silk Roads" one of the main themes defined for the UNESCO Interactive Atlas. It brought together 25 renowned experts and researchers from around the world to discuss the cultural exchanges and mutual influences around textile, clothing and accessories along the Silk Roads as well as the appropriate methodology, and tools for showcasing common heritage and influences in the Interactive Atlas. Ms Gertsakis' invitation Not Japan, but Greece. to Valencia stems from her doctoral research and her exhibition at Mora Galleries, Richmond (2017) titled 'Girls in Our Town' (τα κοριτσια της πόλης μας). Women in the shadow of the Magnificent Empire'. Florina Prefecture, Macedonia. Gertsakis' doctoral dissertation observed cultural and demographic similarities, variations and differences across the region in shared forms of clothing, fabrics, or the city of Valencia, since the Arabs introduced the Elizabeth Gertsakis with the two Falleras ‘Queens’ of the Falla Festival in Valencia. PHOTO: SUPPLIED design and appearance captured in early 20th century photography in northern Greece and the southern Balkans. The aspects of clothing and textiles were part of a study by Gertsakis of the ways photography was used in the northern region of Greece during the period of revolutionary violence, displacement, world war and the re-shaping of national borders. The existence of established local markets and exchange of goods going to and from trading routes that had existed for centuries saw the merging of ideas and materials from the eastern 'silk roads' along the via Egnatia linking the Balkans, not only with central and northern Europe but also with a vast number of countries, exchanging knowledge and meeting the demands of the wealthy for the new and unknown. What is called the 'silk road' was mainly a way for Indian and Persian traders to trade Chinese silk and oriental spices with Europe for more than 1500 years and passed through 43 countries of the modern world. Historically, one of the strongest connections with Greece and the Silk Road is that of Alexander the Great (356323BC) considered to be among the first Silk Road travellers from the West. His expeditionary travels transformed Greece into a cultural crossroad connected by land and maritime routes. The four centuries of Ottoman occupation of the Balkans and Greece was the last and most intense phase of modern European history in which cultural rituals, costumes and trades became more finely attuned and refined to meet the consumerist needs of the many different communities living under Ottoman cultural rule at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Ms Gertsakis has been collecting photographic material and heritage costumes from the Balkans since 2006. Her artistic work is installation based and cross-media with political, feminist and a critical historical focus. This involves a researchbased practice examining popular images and the effects of mass technologies of early twentieth century photographic and printing processes. From the beginning of her career as a photo-media artist she has concentrated on questions regarding visuality in relation to art and museum politics and institutions in both Australia and Greece.
23 March 2019
06 April 2019