Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Greek Art Inspired by Economic Hardship

A recent article in the New York Times examined the Greek economic situation from a fascinating new perspective: its ability to inspire and influence artists. In the realms of visual arts, cinema, and theater, artists all over Greece are producing compelling works that hare heavily influenced by the current economic conditions. Street art (known by some of its critics as graffiti) decorates the streets of Athens with politically charged images and witticisms. In the Metaxourgio neighborhood of Athens, art galleries such as the Kunsthalle Athena displays work by young artists such as Stefania Strouza and Lydia Dambassina. Strouza's clever works consist of framed excerpts from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream: "My soul consents not to give sovereignty," and "Before the time seemed Athens as a paradise to me," are two of her framed statements. Lydia Dambassina's most well-known work in the Kunstalle Athena shows a Greek flag folded on a desk next to a copy of the Greek newspaper Ta Nea from March 2010 with the headline "All Ways Are Closed."
Last year's Oscar-nominated film Dogtooth and this year's Oscar-nominee Attenberg present a perspective on Greek society that is emotionless, flat and, at times, grotesque. A recent production of Antigone by the Knossos Theater Company in Athens combined Sophocle's ancient version of the play with Brecht's 1948 adaptation to present a protagonist who stands up to political injustice.
It is thus fascinating to see how even in times of economic difficulty, Greek people can rise and flourish in other ways - in this case, the arts.

To see examples of Athenian street art, please visit: http://bleeps.gr/main/

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