CULTURE

Uniting Greek and Japanese artists

To some, the Japanese island of Sodoshima is also known as the «Mediterranean of the Far East,» a name partly derived from the region’s mild climate, the island’s rich stands of olive trees and the surrounding Aegean-blue waters. Within the island’s park lies the «Temple of Peace,» a building modelled after an ancient Greek temple. And inside the temple, the sacred flame which was brought from the Acropolis of Athens in 1956 is kept burning. It is partly because of the island’s Mediterranean flavor that Lily Venizelos, president of the Mediterranean Association MEDASSET (whose goal is to save the sea turtle), initiated an affiliation between the island of Sodoshima and the Greek island of Milos. An official ceremony which took place on Milos in 1990 sealed the affiliation. Since then, many cultural exchanges and events targeted to promote commercial links between the two islands – and by extension between the two countries – have taken place, many with the support of the Greek-Japanese Chamber of Commerce which was established in 2000. One of these events, which is titled «Greece-Japan: Two Cultures Encounter Art,» is a group art exhibition that highlights the affiliation between Milos and Sodoshima. Works by contemporary artists from the two islands were originally exhibited at the Milos Cultural Center in July and have now been brought to the Greek-Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Thessaloniki. The exhibition will move on to the Athens Municipal Center in early October. The exhibition is useful for bringing into contact artists from two completely different cultures but is also an opportunity to make comparisons between the artistic techniques and variations in styles employed by Greek and Japanese contemporary artists. Most of the works by the Japanese artists have been inspired by Greek themes and are rendered through traditional Japanese painting techniques. The exhibition is sponsored by Japan Tobacco International Hellas and will be on show at the Greek-Japanese Chamber of Commerce in Thessaloniki until Sept. 21.