Friday February 27, 2015 Search
Weather | Athens
11o C
6o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
In Athens, street art vents anger over austerity

A giant lion roars before a frayed Greek flag on a graffiti by BANE on a wall of a primary school in Athens suburb of Nikaia on this picture taken on April 29.

By Helene Colliopoulou

A giant lion roars against the backdrop of a battered Greek flag in wall art covering the side of a school building in a working-class Athens suburb.

The creation is one of many examples of street art across the Greek capital expressing the despair of ordinary people after four years of government belt-tightening at the behest of international creditors.

The artist, BANE, is among around 60 contributors to Athens' second annual street art festival, using some 30 public buildings in the run-down districts of Nikaia, Rentis and Tavros as their canvases.

Several of the works defy the three-month festival's title "Crisis, What Crisis?" apparently aimed at steering artists away from the gloom of soaring unemployment and sweeping poverty with Greece beginning to make timid steps towards recovery.

"The notion of reconquering public space predates the crisis," argues a young artist who uses the pen name This Is Opium.

Among foreign participants in the festival is Franck Duval of France, originally a collage artist who took up street art in 2006. "We are all paying for this crisis, whether in Greece or elsewhere," he said.

Duval, who is taking part for a second time and helped paint a mural inspired by "Zorba the Greek", added: "The walls of Athens deserve a little more color and joy."

Panos Haralambous, a vice dean of the Athens School of Fine Arts which is staging the event, told AFP: "We seek to evoke reactions, no longer just in studios but outside. Art is not just for the few."

Street art has "exploded in the city these past six years," he said. "It is a form of protest that takes the artist out of his studio.

"Young people are looking for ways to express themselves in hard times, and street art is an ideal vehicle for that," he added.

Greece stood on the brink of bankruptcy in 2010 when international lenders came to the rescue with the first of two bailout packages totalling 240 billion euros ($330 billion).

In exchange, Athens was forced to undertake drastic reforms including wage, pension and job cuts to bring down its runaway public deficit -- prompting often violent protests.

Organizer Gogo Kolivira described the artists' brief as "interpreting the news in the public space" but with a view to generating "optimism and hope".

"The aim is to keep street art a vital part of the city," said fine arts student Sotiris Gardiakos.

Last year's works, now on display at the School of Fine Arts, were overwhelmingly inspired by the anti-austerity protests that rocked the country between 2010 and 2012.

One piece depicts a malnourished child with the slogan "Need Food, Not Football" stencilled across his distended belly, while another titled "Death of Euros" shows six men carrying a stack of oversized euros, evoking pallbearers carrying a coffin.

The event, which enjoys support from the French, Israeli and Swiss embassies, closes at the end of June with a photo exhibition of graffiti and slogans that have appeared in Athens since the start of the crisis in 2010.

Separately, the private Onassis Foundation is currently showcasing some 40 street art works including spray-painted cars in a show titled "No Respect." [AFP]

ekathimerini.com , Thursday June 12, 2014 (09:47)  
US citizens in Greece and US taxes: A word to the wise, and a seminar
University stresses benefits of donkey, goat breeding
Building bridges with cheese in divided Cyprus
Personal data breaches biggest concern for Internet users
TDF17
Thessaloniki doc fest returns with tribute to Austrian, Romanian filmmakers
Hubert Sauper and Alexandru Solomon are but a couple of the filmmakers heading to this years Thessaloniki Documentary Festival (TDF), according to organizers as they unveiled the lineup of ...
Arcade Fire rocker rallies for Greece in new song
As Greece's new government fights to turn the page on harsh austerity measures, its receiving support from an unexpected source -- Will Butler of indie rock band Arcade Fire. Butler release...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. German lawmakers approve extension of bailout program for Greece
2. Prosecutor orders probe into claims of abuse at Amygdaleza migrant facility
3. Restive Bundestag to approve Greek bailout extension
4. German MPs begin debate on extending Greek bailout program
5. Tsipras reversal draws Greek sympathy as party rumblings rise
6. Ten-man Olympiakos couldnt overcome Dnipro
more news
Today
This Week
1. Tsipras reversal draws Greek sympathy as party rumblings rise
2. German MPs begin debate on extending Greek bailout program
3. Restive Bundestag to approve Greek bailout extension
4. Prosecutor orders probe into claims of abuse at Amygdaleza migrant facility
5. German MPs begin debate on extending Greek bailout program
6. German lawmakers approve extension of bailout program for Greece
Today
This Week
1. Greece prepares extension request for eurozone approval
2. Time for Alexis Tsipras to keep his nerve
3. Stubborn but not almighty
4. Greek bailout deal faces review by euro officials next week
5. Greece says eurozone deal won time as cash bled from banks
6. The ignorance of the West about the culture of Islam
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2015, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.