Gift buying: Start early, and enjoy

Food and art are joined on the street in a festival that will last throughout the day this coming Saturday. The location is Haritos Street in Kolonaki and the event includes performances and art installations both on the street and the store fronts. Curated by art critic Efi Michalarou, «Food & Art» = «Street Art» – as this lively event is aptly titled – is the third part of a broader project on «Food & Art» that began last December with the initial idea of exhibiting art in alternative spaces. The project will continue until June 2004, when the plan is to publish a book documenting its various stages. For the Haritos Street event, Michalarou asked 18 artists to think of an artwork that references food but also has some relationship to street culture. The idea is partly inspired by famous works that address food, among them Andy Warhol’s images of Coca-Cola, Claes Oldenburg’s hamburgers, the actions that Fluxus made using food, the images of Yashumasa Morimura, the videos of Tania Bruguera that address the rituals tied to foods, the bakery of Laurel Katz and the fruit cartons of the Greek artist Pavlos. The peculiarity of this event, however, is not so much its emphasis on the works themselves as on involving passers-by and creating a festive mood. «Food & Art» = «Street Art» is primarily a party around art and food. Many of the works are made to that effect: Katerina Vagia, for example, will encourage people to use confectionary materials in order to draw their own painting. Another work based on interaction is by Sia Kyriakakos (one of the two artists that represented Greece in the recent Venice Biennale) called «Mobile Coffee Table,» essentially a mobile, traveling kiosk (the project has traveled the world) in which the artist prepares coffee for the public. Other works evoke a pre-Christmas festive mood. «Sugar Christmas,» an installation by Maria Konomi and Irina Kalitzaki, is related to the Christmas spirit and especially addressed to children. In «Surprise Sticks,» Stelios Parliaros refers to Central European Christmas culinary habits and offers fruit dipped in chocolate to passers-by. Also participating are Georgia Damopoulou, Christina Darra, Lila Kabani, Anna Katsibra, Maro Kouri, Elina Konstantinou, Maro Michalakakou, Vassilis Boutos, Eleni Mylona, Foteini Poulia, Morgan Showalter, Dimitris Tsoublekas and Alexandros Psychoulis. On Haritos Street in Kolonaki from 11 a.m to 6 p.m. this Saturday. Performances will take place from 12-5 p.m. Charitable gifts Why not combine gift buying with a good cause in support of animal rights? There are a number of charitable or non-profit organizations in Greece that offer a range of gift items for the Christmas season. The Mediterranean Seal Protection Society (MOm), which runs the program information center of the Sporades Sea Park, has T-shirts, sweatshirts, caps, hats, backpacks, stickers and mugs in various colors and decorated either with the company’s mother and baby seal insignia or with pictures and drawings of cute and cuddly seals, at prices ranging from 2-20 euros. (MOm, 18 Solomou, Athens, tel 210.522.2450, The World Wide Fund for Nature is an all-year-round favorite with an especially attractive gift shop that offers a wide range of items. Cuddly toys such as pandas, lions, giraffes, a family of seals, and elephants; lion rattlers and a charming musical dolphin mobile to lull infants to sleep; towels and mugs; T-shirts, sweatshirts (with or without a hood) and socks; and school or office supplies either in bright, happy colors or in elegant earthy tones, are all available at reasonable prices and in a variety of designs and colors. Just for the holiday season, WWF also offers a selection of Christmas and New Year’s cards. (WWF Greece, 26 Filellinon, Syntagma, tel 210.331.4893).