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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 19 October 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 19 OCTOBER 2019 13 ART having heard about me at a dinner party in London, I think. I don't remember how I met Lilly Kristensen but she was one of the first artists to have a one person show with me and made unique work. Judith Allen I met through an exhibition at the British Council. We went on to work on a number of commissions for passenger ferries. I am very much in touch with the living artists who became good friends. A culmination of my efforts was the exhibition 'British Artists in Greece', part of the 'Britain in Greece Festival' in 1995." ELENI MYLONAS Artist Elenis Mylonas creates multi-media works. sparked my interest in photography," he told Neos Kosmos. "It all started when I came back to Greece from a trip in Switzerland, and there was a thunderstorm brewing. I rushed back home and went up to the top of the roof of my house. The thunderstorm never happened, but it was brewing and I found myself saying 'thank you for giving me this opportunity to take these photographs', I've been grateful to nature, to God, for providing me with the opportunity to be at the right place and time to take these photos. And it's almost like a spiritual experience, because you spend all this time behind the viewfinder to get the right composition, and during that time everything else is blocked from your mind, you can't be thinking of anything else. I went back down and told my wife 'that was one of the most beautiful 45 minutes of photographic experience I've had in my life', and she said to me 'you've been up there 3 hours!'". On living in Greece he says: "I'm home now, and I love it. It was a passion of mine from childhood and I got the opportunity to move here so I did." JILL YAKAS Jill Yakas moved from England to Greece in the ‘60s. Through her work at the British Council, and later at her gallery in Kifissia (Jill Yakas Gallery, 1982-2009), Yakas managed to get together the British expat artists of Greece in particular, creating a very interesting art hub for them. "There were a number of artists resident in Greece at the time, for instance Hilary Adair and Delia Delderfield," Me Yakas told Neos Kosmos. "I put on exhibitions of contemporary original prints by established and up-and-coming British artists (Patrick Caulfield, Joe Tilson, David Hockney, Norman Ackroyd), at the British Council gallery in Kolonaki (in 1976, 1978, 1980). Cherry Pickles, Anna Christy and Mary Louise Coulouris, for instance, were recommended by the British Council, Athens, to get in touch with me after the closure of their gallery due to 'cuts'. Others were introduced to me by artists I was working with (David Shutt via Cherry Pickles, Dorothy Andrews via Scotty Michell). Then there were others whose work I spotted and got in touch with myself (William Pownall, Jennifer Tsiopou). Rosalind Forster got in touch having read about me, Guy Vaesen Eleni Mylonas, is an artist who divides her time between New York, Athens and Aegina. She organised the show 'ex-pats' in 2017, at the Alex Mylona Museum in Athens, (a museum FILIPPOS TSITSOPOULOS Filippos Tsitsopoulos is a contemporary artist who works with performance, drawing from the history of painting. He left Athens for Madrid, United States. So I stayed away from Greece for the duration of the Junta and beyond, returning for brief periods for exhibitions and to visit friends and family. Circumstances are somewhat reversed now with the United States itself under the siege of autocracy and lawlessness, while Greece maintains a strong democracy in a very sensitive part of the world which is increasingly ravaged by war and threatened by powerful neighbours. For better or for worse I still divide my time between the two countries absorbing what is best in both of them and keeping the peace." also as a measure of art, so much so that I think sometimes I have the Stendhal syndrome. You simply have to leave your country in this situation - Greece in my case. But it is that same syndrome that makes me return, in search of that beauty and meaning that has been lost in other parts of the world." CHRYS ROBORAS Then of course, there are the children of the diaspora, who have been brought up on the 'Greek dream', and come here to live it. Sydney-Greek artist Chrys Roboras explains. "It was my father's dream for all of us to return to Greece, it became a reality in 1998," Roboras told Neos Kosmos. "Culturally it has been an enhancement in my personal and artistic life, being in Europe everything is at an arm's length away. Australian-born Chrys Roboras poses with her artwork. Contemporary artist Filippos Tsitsopoulos works with performance, drawing from the history of painting named after, and founded by her mother, an eminent sculptor). There, the works of various ex-pat artists of Greek origins, who have left Greece, returned to Greece, or are living in between countries were included (Cris Gianakos, Mark Hadjipateras, Despoina Meimaroglou, Eleni Mylonas). "I never actually decided to divide my time between the land I was born in and the land I adopted and which adopted me in return," she told Neos Kosmos. "It was the circumstances that brought me in this position. I was studying at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism when the colonels took over the country in a coup, installing a seven-year Junta on Greece. As a budding journalist I had no choice but to stay where I was, in New York, while my country was under siege, albeit with the support of the where he worked at the Prado Museum, and then moved to London. But he is now slowly making his way back to Athens. "I now live and work between London and Madrid, but am returning to Athens since the UK is in the midst of the post-Brexit referendum's landscape," he told Neos Kosmos. "Brexit to me is a situation that I see in the streets, I see it all over and it poisons people's characters and dizzies their judgement. I see a country which is divided and politicians that want to get into power in the filthiest way. This is partly one of the two reasons that makes me want to come back to Greece. The other is that as a young boy I tried to reconcile with the figure of the genius white male artist so dear to patriarchal and colonial European art history but also tried to appreciate traditionally defined beauty The journey between the two countries, the two cultures, the two upbringings has definitely encouraged a wide range of creative flow." So what to conclude? Basically, that Greece is a muse for creative people, offering plenty of inspiration, widening their horizons in unforeseeable ways. And it is becoming all the more so. A recent article in The Telegraph even talks of an Icelandic group of artists that are now living in Kypseli, where another more alternative art scene is developing. The beauty and light of this country, as encapsulated especially in Rosalind Forster's detailed depictions of Spetses (where she lives and works), are testimony to why Greece offers much to the expat arts scene, and makes even the Greek expat artists unable to say good bye to Greece for good.
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