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

Athens Anniversary

Exactly 185 years ago today, Athens was proclaimed the capital of Greece. I found this very interesting article by Greek journalist Philip Chrysopoulos in the GREEK REPORTER. As it was possible to reblog onto Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest, but not to WP, I copied it verbatim, including the photos.

 

September 18, 1834: Athens Becomes the Capital of Greece
By Philip Chrysopoulos -Sep 18, 2018

 

When Athens was officially declared the capital of the newly established Greek State on September 18, 1834, it was a small village of 7,000 residents living around the Acropolis Hill.

Following the assassination of Governor Ioannis Kapodistrias in the Peloponnesian city in 1831, Greece’s first politicians had to decide where the new government and first parliament would be established. At the time, Athens was an area of ancient, Byzantine and medieval ruins with makeshift houses around them, all around the Acropolis Hill.

The decision was far from easy. Personalities of the time, politicians, as well as architects and city planners took part in the debate, trying to influence developments and the final decision. The cities proposed were, among others, Corinth, Megara, Piraeus, Argos, as well as Nafplio again.

Eventually, Athens won the race and in September 18, 1834 it was officially proclaimed “Royal Seat and Capital”. The main reason was the city’s glorious history as the cradle of Hellenic Civilization. According to historians King of Bavaria Ludwig I was influential to the decision as he was a great admirer of ancient Greece.

Athens circa 1890

However, the city was not prepared to carry the weight of the capital of the new state. It was more of a town than a city, with 7,000 residents and 170 regular houses, as the remaining Athenians were living in huts. Furthermore, the battles that took place in Athens had left many ruins. By comparison, at the time, the population of Patras amounted to 15,000 thousand, while Thessaloniki had 60,000.

Athens stretched around the Acropolis (from Psiri to Makrygianni), having as its center the area of ​​Plaka (the Old Town). One of the major problems of the new capital was the lack of a water supply system, as well as the absence of public lighting and transport, while there was a complete lack of social services.

Greece’s first king, Otto of Bavaria, commissioned the reconstruction of the devastated city to Greek architect Stamatis Kleanthis and the Bavarian Leo von Klenze with a strict order not to damage the archaeological sites. For the protection of antiquities, Otto issued a decree prohibiting the construction of limestone at a distance of 2,500 meters from ancient Greek ruins, so that antiquities could not be damaged.

Within four years, about 1,000 houses were built in Athens, many of them makeshift, with no architectural or street plan. Otto banned quarrying in the hills of Nymphs, Achanthos (Strefi), Philopappou and Lycabettus and issued decrees with the strict order to immediately demolish every house built near archaeological sites and everything built on the outskirts of the Acropolis Hill.

The strict measures regarding building houses made Otto lose his popularity with the poor masses, but he insisted on issuing other decrees.

In the years to come, Athens became the pole of attraction for Greeks, who arrived in the capital from all parts of the country. In 1896, Greece hosted the first modern Olympic Games. By that time, the picture of the capital was radically changed. It had expanded and now was a city of 140,000 residents with great buildings and important archeological sites, and the commercial and cultural intellectual center of the country. A true capital.

Autumn Light

 

I’ve been too busy to write much lately (only one post in August—shame on me!) and the news this summer has been depressing again, with multiple forest fires and droves of immigrants arriving on the islands. However, the change in government has brought a measure of optimism to the country. The general consensus seems to be that they are at least trying hard to make a difference, and the reaction to events is faster and more organized. So fingers crossed.

 

 

Also, the last few days have been like a mini holiday where I’m taking the opportunity to enjoy the end of the summer. It’s a lovely time of the year, still warm but with a breeze and a hint of chill in the evenings. The light is mellow, the sea is silky and the sun does not scorch.

 

 

This is Schoinias Beach near Athens. Children went back to school yesterday, so it’s nearly empty.

 

 

The beach is edged by these wonderful pine trees called koukounaries

 

 

Beyond the sea, lavender colored mountains.

 

 

Elsewhere, tree branches are bowing under the weight of ripening olives,

 

 

And pistachios.

 

 

 

A magical time of the year in Greece.