Monday Jul 28, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
31o C
23o 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)  
Gazi, from industrial backwater to urban hot spot
Greeks Gone West: Greg Yatanes
Study finds Greeks with soft spot for conspiracy theories are more likely to hold anti-Semitic views
Greeks Gone West: Ted Maglaris
Thessaloniki producing a homegrown brand of manga
A group of writers (genshaku-sha), and cartoonists (mangaka) in the northern port city of Thessaloniki are making a splash with manga fans by producing their own online series, which has alr...
Tale of Greek woman gone rogue to premiere at Locarno
“A Blast,” a new feature film by director Syllas Tzoumerkas, will premiere at the 67th Locarno Film Festival at the beginning of August. The movie, winner of the Eurimages Co-production Deve...
Inside Life
Inside Travel
Inside Gastronomy
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
 RECENT NEWS
1. Volleyball national team second in European League
2. Next six to eight months will be crucial
3. Athens to help track accounts of US citizens
4. Private sector salaries keep shrinking
5. Hardouvelis warns ECB of stress test implications for economy
6. French tourist dies after falling off balcony in Crete
more news
Today
This Week
1. French tourist dies after falling off balcony in Crete
2. Weighing all the factors
3. Clear rules, for everyone
4. Athens to help track accounts of US citizens
5. Next six to eight months will be crucial
6. Hardouvelis warns ECB of stress test implications for economy
Today
This Week
1. Climber dies in Mount Olympus fall
2. Greek sovereign debt at 174.1 percent of GDP in first quarter
3. Unequal after death
4. Hedge fund Dromeus turns Greek tragedy to triumph with 160 pct gain
5. Quadriplegic woman on life support 'dies due to unpaid power bills'
6. Front-line threats
   Find us ...
  ... on
Twitter
     ... on Facebook   
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright © 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.