Cana­dian artists draw in­spi­ra­tion from crises

Kathimerini English - - Focus - IOANNA KARCAS

Cel­e­brat­ing the 75th an­niver­sary of Greek-Cana­dian diplo­matic re­la­tions, the Cana­dian Em­bassy in Athens has part­nered with the Ti­nos Cul­tural Foun­da­tion for the ex­hi­bi­tion “Open Hori­zons,” show­ing work by artists Ron Mop­pett, Allyson Glenn and Colleen Hes­lin through Au­gust 20.

Ac­cord­ing to the cu­ra­tor of the ex­hi­bi­tion, Dr Ca­te­rina Piza­nias, for­eign artists have been show­ing a re­newed in­ter­est in Greek his­tory as the coun­try “has been pro­mot­ing its past,” and in the case of this show, many of the pieces are in­spired by the eco­nomic cri­sis in South­ern Europe.

“It is time to move our fo­cus from an­tiq­ui­ties to con­tem­po­rary life, with­out cre­at­ing an ei­ther/or di­chotomy but rather by cre­at­ing more en­rich­ing op­tions in the ‘be­tween spa­ces,’” ex­plains the itin­er­ant aca­demic, in­de­pen­dent cu­ra­tor, arts writer, teacher and ac­tive mem­ber of the arts com­mu­ni­ties in Canada and Greece.

“In-depth cover­age of pol­i­tics, which would al­low a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of events in Greece abroad, is min­i­mal, re­sult­ing in su­per­fi­cial knowl­edge.”

The quest to achieve greater depth cer­tainly ap­plies to Mop­pett, who has drawn from the Greek mythol­ogy that forms a part of his ed­u­ca­tional back­ground and from the cur­rent drama.

“This is my first visit to Greece,” says the Cal­gar­ian artist. “I’m con­cerned about the refugee cri­sis and very dis­ap­pointed when peo­ple close their bor­ders,” he adds in ref­er­ence to the re­ac­tion of cer­tain Euro­pean na­tions to the in­flux of asy­lum seek­ers and mi­grants.

The no­tions of shel­ter and home are re­cur­ring mo­tifs in his work, which is also in­spired by the way that Greek his­tory is in­cor­po­rated in the work of the late Cy Twombly.

“For me, a paint­ing is al­ways a sculp­ture of an­other place, a home for the imag­i­na­tion,” Mop­pett says.

Though this is his first visit to Greece, Mop­pett has some knowl­edge of the lo­cal art scene and says he ad­mires Jan­nis Kounel­lis. “My work­ing-class back­ground en­joys the po­etry of his street art ma­te­ri­als,” he says.

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