New for this year’s RG Connect18 conference, we are exhibiting the stories and the work of inspiring artists of Greek origin who are living and creating in Greece and abroad. The exhibition will present a selection of innovative creative minds who, despite the challenges of living in the diaspora, create new art using materials and inspiration from Greece. In today’s blog, the exhibition’s curator, Emily Louizou, gives an insight into the artists featured.
It is a great honour to be presenting you 5 special artists and 3 emerging filmmakers – all of Greek origin – in this year’s RG Connect. I have been following their work across Greece and the UK in the past years and it is with pride to be able to invite them to a unique exhibition about what it means to be part of a diaspora, while trying to remain creative in a brutal environment.
Artists are innovators and entrepreneurs in a different way to the rest of the people that Reload Greece has been supporting so far. Artists too create something from nothing. They capture life, they depict the world not as it is or as it should be, but they depict a different side of the world, a side which is unseen by most of us. They hold a distorting mirror in front of the viewer and they make us see ourselves and the people around us under a new light. Artists are not here to give solutions, but to pinpoint to the problems. They are here to ask questions and to make us see them afresh.
I am happy to be presenting for RG Connect, artists from very different backgrounds, age groups and disciplines; artists that trained in the UK, as well as artists that chose to come to the UK after their studies in Greece, with the hope of a new life despite the sacrifices of diaspora. Allow yourselves to be transported by Lily Zoumbouli’s nostalgic and faded postcards from Greece’s past, Konstantinos N. Papaoikonomou’s angular and shaded Greek urban landscapes, Stelios Choustoulakis’ theatrical photography of isolation through his journey of becoming an immigrant, Eleni Bantra’s beautiful alchemies with which she re-introduces the notion of jewellery design, as well as Lily Hass’s three-dimensional depiction of our disconnected existences.
We are also proud to partner with Thessaloniki’s International Short-Film Festival and screen three very special films, all showing a different side of contemporary Greece and its deconstruction. I did not see useful to curate an exhibition showcasing the beautiful landscapes of the Greek islands or to dwell once again on the past by drawing inspiration by our famous antiquity. Whether it is your choice or not, leaving your country in the hope of better opportunities is not an easy thing to do. But it can be hugely formative and inspiring. And this is how these people respond to a Greece who has, for now, shut its door to them.
Enjoy this new generation of Greek artists and let them transport you through the perception of Greece that they offer.
Emily Louizou is an award-winning theatre director based in London. She is the Artistic Director of Collide Theatre, a collective of emerging artists who share a passion for bold international texts and non-traditional theatre forms. She was the Resident Assistant Director at HOME theatre in Manchester for 2017-2018 where she assisted acclaimed European and UK directors, run educational workshops, and directed her own productions. She holds an MFA Theatre Directing degree at Birkbeck, University of London, as well as BA in English Literature from UCL. In the past five years she has directed, choreographed, produced and written more than 15 productions.