Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 October 2019
12 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER 2019 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM The expat arts scene in Greece: Those who came, those who left,those in limbo Nikolaos from the former Greek royal family has a passion for photography. American post-punk, new-wave and alternative pop singer, songwriter, musician, multi-instrumentalist Blaine Reininger is in Greece while his son studies in Sydney. STELLA SEVASTOPOULOS T he art world of Greece is diverse in many ways. The ex-pats that have chosen to live and work here in Greece have added to this diversity. The echoes of some of them, now deceased, even live on in their homes: Canadian Leonard Cohen's home in Hydra was his sanctuary where he created some of his most beautiful songs and poems. Sir Patrick Leigh Fermour's house in Kardamyli (which he donated to the Benaki Museum) likewise was a haven where the eminent British travel writer was able to pen his exciting adventures. Nowadays, musician Ross Daly has put Crete firmly on the map of the contemporary music scene. Originally from Norfolk, but with Irish roots, he has been living in Greece for over three decades, and has expanded his musical horizons in the country, creating the world-renowned Labyrinth Music Workshop in the village of Houdetsi in Crete. Founded in 1982, the workshop is a centre for the exploration of contemporary modal music. Internationally acclaimed French-Canadian pianist Alain Lefevre, has also made this country his home, as has the musician Blaine Reininger, of Tuxedomoon fame. In terms of the visual arts, Jill Yakas was a key figure in getting the expat artistic community together, via the exhibitions at her gallery. But there are also Greeks of the diaspora, who have headed back here, such as the Sydney-Greek artist Chrys Roboras. Then there are those Greek artists who left the motherland, only to return, many years later, or who prefer to stay in limbo between countries – the Greek expats, such as Eleni Mylonas, or Filippos Tsitsopoulos. Here's what some of these expats of the arts, either Greek or from elsewhere, (plus a royal expat), have to say about their experience in Greece, and beyond: BLAINE REININGER Musician Blaine Reininger moved to Greece in 1998 from Brussels. "When Tuxedomoon had come to Greece in 1987, I met a journalist, Nikos Triantafyllidis, the son of Harry Klynn," Mr Reininger told Neos Kosmos. "He was a nascent film director and I started working with him. Pretty soon I had enough action going on in Greece that it made sense to move here. In 1998 I relocated from Brussels, where I had lived for 17 years. By that time, other sides to my career seemed to be winding down, my first wife died after we moved here. Things led to other things, I met Michael Marmarinos the director, who wanted me to act in his production of 'Agamemnon', and then I started to have a second career in the Greek theatre, especially in the 'alternative theatre mafia' of Athens, through which I met my wife Maria Panourgia (actress and director). I have made music for her productions and that's what I have been doing and am still doing, working with a lot of different people in the alternative theatre scene, creating music for it but also working as an actor. Now, I've just finished a performance at Austria's Mathausen concentration camp directed by Elli Papaconstantinou, for which I also wrote the music. Also, I ended up having a son here in Greece, which I never expected to happen. He's now 20 years old and studying in Sydney." Reininger goes on to say that Greece was a "life-changing experience" for him. "It has been very welcoming. People liked my band Tuxedomoon. They wanted me to work with them. It hasn't been financially all that rewarding but that's the way it is in Greece. People work really hard to make really little money. They have five jobs just to break even. But in terms of the theatre, I don't know anywhere else in the world that has so many productions going on at the same time. There are hundreds of theatres all over Athens and they have productions that are hiring people and there's nothing like that anywhere, not in New York, not in Paris, nor Berlin." PRINCE NIKOLAOS Prince Nikolaos, former Prince of the Hellenes, whose family was exiled for over four decades from Greece, has made Greece his home since 2013 (together with his wife Tatiana Blatnik). His parents also moved to the country in 2012. He was always an avid photographer, but it was in Greece where Prince Nikolaos' artistic side flourished. His current show at the Benaki Museum brings together the Aegean and the Desert, connecting the countries of Qatar and Greece ('Aegean Desert' runs until 19 January at the Benaki Museum of Islamic Art). He has had a number of shows already, his first one being at Christie's London (2015), and his previous one at Melbourne's Hellenic Museum (2018). "It's the Greek light which Jill Yakas has been dealing in art for the past thirty years.
12 October 2019
26 October 2019