Black and pink

We know about Picasso’s Blue, Rose and Negro periods from the history of art. From the history of politics, we know that the palette of every politician with a proper respect for his profession’s age-old traditions contains either shades of black and rose – and no others. A politician’s decision on which color to use on each occasion, as he is swung to and fro like a pendulum by the power of voting trends, depends on his political fortunes. If in power, our politician-cum-artist finds himself in the pink, and paints everything in rosy tints. If he is in opposition, the times are black indeed. In that case, even gray will not do when depicting the government’s works and days. The paintings on display at Thessaloniki’s traditional International Trade Fair every September are divided into two radically opposed color categories – although they both deal with the same subject. On one side, the exhibits that bear the signature of the ruling party are all painted in rosy hues. Bamboozling the public and narcissism are the rule. Here everything is «bright, beautiful, and big:» The construction of the metro is on schedule, the Egnatia Highway is finished, growth is soaring, wealth is evenly distributed, moderation prevails. Canvasses on the other side bear the signature of the opposition. Here, painting everything in the darkest colors and nihilism hold sway. Black is king here. «Everything here is dark,» as an old Greek folk song goes. There is nothing worth depicting in a lighter shade. The visitor-spectator stands amid the two rows of paintings, trying to evaluate, compare, pick or reject. And he is plunged into gloom at the thought that should the electoral wind sit in another corner, today’s rose-lovers will start to paint things in somber hues, while those who painted black pictures will instantly discover that their palette contains nothing but pink.

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