Entering a new decade

Today marks the start not only of a new year, but of a new decade.

Traditional Greek Vasilopita, a cake cut every New Year in households and businesses around Greece

The last decade has been rocky, the new starts with a lot of huge challenges.

Fires are raging in Australia as we speak, and the decade has seen a lot of climatic disasters. Many have lost their homes and even their lives.

We are in the midst of the greatest movement of populations the world has ever witnessed. Wether we like it or not, we are, and will be, for many reasons, inundated with refugees and other migrants, and we must find humane ways of dealing with this issue.

There has been great economic upheaval, a lot of countries being hit with unprecedented crises.

One of the main reasons problems remain insoluble has been a lack of effective leadership worldwide. Petty squabbles, endless scandals, vote-grabbing concerns mean that the job does not get done. Too little, too late.

The biggest effect in our everyday lives has been the rapid advance in technology, enabling us to have access to all information (overwhelmingly so sometimes), to communicate easily and cheaply, to virtually be everywhere. This has its good and bad sides, like everything else, which I shall not bore you by enumerating.

Human nature, in my humble opinion, does not change. It is capable of the best, as of the worst. Violence, greed, atrocities, financial shenanigans, injustice. On the other hand, we have witnessed fantastic new inventions and discoveries, unimaginable progress in medicine and other sciences, great works of art and amazing cases of selflessness, humanity and downright heroism.

However big the challenges facing us, we must remember humankind  has endured for a couple of hundred thousand years. It has faced up to challenges before. We must enter this new decade with optimism and a will to make changes for the better.

 

Smashing a pomegranate on your doorstep is another Greek custom that signifies good luck

Happy New Year to all!

HE DID IT!

After a nail biting contest which had watchers on the edge of their seats, Greek tennis player Stefanos Tsitsipas gave it everything he had to win the ATP Championship over Austrian Dominic Thiem.

 

The two, who apparently are good friends off court, were evenly matched and equally determined. They fought point by point to the bitter end. Stefanos finally prevailed, in my opinion by not allowing himself to become as frustrated at faults and set backs as his opponent and holding his nerve all the way. Be that as it may, it was very high quality tennis, and commentators were saying tennis is safe with such players following in the footsteps  of Federer, Djokovic and Nadal.

Tsitsipas is the first player from Greece to win the tournament and the youngest champion since Lleyton Hewitt in 2001. Not bad for a 21 year old!

 

SAL #4 ~ Portsea Cliff

I’m useless at sewing and embroidery , so I thought I’d give everyone a peep of Anne Lawson’s beautiful work. Just look at those colors!

Anne Lawson Art

I am a little late in getting this post out, but I have just picked up my computer.

I did a very silly thing. A friend supposedly sent me a message, via Messenger, about a video I was in. I am usually very wary about clicking links and I am far more likely to delete a message/email/link than click on it. The message didn’t seem my friend’s style, and I couldn’t image that she would have a video I would be in, but instead of the warning bells going off, I thought “Oh well, let’s see what it is”. Click!

Of course, her Facebook account had been hacked and the message sent to everyone. So, caution finally kicked in, and I took my laptop to the computer shop…just to be safe. Everything is okay. Phew! I am a couple of days older, much wiser and far more cautious, and a…

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My Inktober 2019

Being busy and, on some days, totally uninspired, my output for Inktober this year contained a lot of gap days and turned out to be a mishmash of different styles. I admire people who either followed all the prompts in a uniform way, thus creating a series, or didn’t but still kept to a personal theme (see my last post). However, nothing about this challenge is an obligation, and I still managed to have fun and experiment a little along the way. See below.

One interior, done in red ink:

 

 

A little urban sketching, looking out of a London hotel window:

 

 

Some kiddy stuff:

 

 

 

Autumn inspiration, my annual drawing of oak leaves. I added watercolor:

 

 

On the same theme, but trying out some new inks:

 

 

Playing about with ink on Yupo paper, which is shiny and and slippery, making things uncontrollable:

 

 

And, because I find being silly is good for the soul, I sprinkled in some limericks along the way:

 

 

There was a young woman from York

Who sat down to tea with a stork.

When he started to eat

With his very long beak

She said, Could you please use your fork!

 

Sometimes I did follow the prompts.

 

Day 28 prompt – RIDE:

A beautiful girl in an open car

Was sure she was going to be a star

A crusty old geezer

Who wanted to please her

Had told her he knew she was going far

 

Day 25 prompt – TASTY:

Let them eat cake!’ The Queen cries

‘It is tasty and wholesome besides.’

But the folk in the street

Have nothing to eat

So they riot for sausage and fries.

 

Day 12 prompt – DRAGON

 

Day 27 prompt – COAT:

 

 

Day 6 prompt – HUSKY:

 


Well, that’s all, folks! On to the next project.

 

Farewell to Sophia Kokosalaki

Greece and the international fashion world are mourning the death from cancer of hugely respected designer Sophia Kokosalaki. She was 46.

 

 

Sophia was born in Athens in 1972 and, after studying at the University of Athens, she moved to London to enroll in the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design.
She eventually evolved into a widely admired designer who drew on her Greek roots in producing classical silhouettes and artful drapery, which won various awards during her career.

 

 

Sophia was designated chief clothing designer for the summer Olympic Games in Athens in 2004, where she dressed thousands of athletes and performers for the opening and closing ceremonies, honoring Greek myth, history and culture before a global audience. Most spectacular was singer Björk’s “Ocean Dress” with its frothy and swirling pale azure plissé pleats.

 

 

She worked as creative director for various fashion houses, including Vionet and the Diesel Black Gold label, but was mostly known for her own label. She also designed the cabin crew uniforms for Aegean Airlines, as well as fine jewelry and a bridal collection.

She is survived by her partner and daughter.

 

Björk photo from The Independent. All other photos Google.

Revisiting a sunken village

Forty years ago, the inhabitants of Kallio, a stone-built village in Fokis, saw their houses slowly disappear underwater. In 1981, a dam was built in the Mornos River in order to create an artificial lake that would supply Athens with drinking water. The villagers were given no choice: their village was expropriated, and they could only watch silently while the river water flooded their gardens, while the church sank, while the last chimney vanished. The were forced to relocate elsewhere; but they didn’t forget.

Now 27 year old Athenian visual artist Sotiris Tsiganos and his colleague Jonian Bisai have made a short film, NEROMANNA, in memory of the drowned village and the dispersal of its community. They filmed the ghost village underwater, and collected testimonies from its former inhabitants, whom they managed to locate by scouring Greece. “Our village was beautiful”, says an elderly lady, speaking in old fashioned Greek. “It had springs, cold clear waters. We couldn’t believe it when they told us we had to leave. We took the icons from the church, we had to pack everything up and go. We lost our homes.” They also lost each other, as neighbors and friends dispersed to different places.
A lot of the antiquities found locally were also dispersed, some to the museum in Lidoriki, some remaining at the bottom of the lake.
Since that day, this lake has been the main source of water of the Greek capital.

 

 

In 1993, a drought shrank the waters of the artificial lake, and part of the ruins emerged. Some of the villagers, who had gathered to see this sight, compared the occasion to a memorial service. It just made everyone sad. “Better not to have seen,” mused one old man. Then the houses sank back under the waters, and only memories remained.

 

 

 

The film was shown at the Athens Biennale 2017, as part of the whole project, Latent Community, whose aim was to present the history of Kallio and to briefly reconstitute its lost community. The filmmakers invited the villagers to a feast, so that they could meet up and tell their stories, thus creating an environment of narratives based on the community’s experiences. A public archive of documents and records, much of which had been provided by the village residents themselves, was also presented.

The two artists described their visual arts research project as having been very emotional, because while doing it they realized that the sacrifice made by these people had never been properly acknowledged. They had become refugees, they had lost their community, and some who could not adapt to the new situation had died. Some of the inhabitants still believe that when they die, they will all go back there to be together again.

The hauntingly beautiful photo below is by photographer danos kounenis (Trek Earth)

I first came upon this story in an article in the newspaper  Kathimerini

And here is the link to the film NEROMANNA / http://vimeo.com/latentcommunityproject