HAP PRESS RELEASE – VIRTUAL EXHIBITION
“THE SOLACE OF ANTIQUTY: Sketches and Drawings by John ‘Yanni’ Fotiadis”
Queens, New York, June 14, 2021–The Hellenic American Project (HAP) at Queens College, CUNY, presents a virtual exhibition of sketches and drawings paired with passages and poetry in commemoration of 200 years since the start of the Greek War of Independence in 1821.
Fotiadis started creating the works in 2019, while visiting Greece, and completed them in 2020, in New York, during the lockdown due to the pandemic. Written passages and spoken words from seminal figures of the Greek War of Independence and poems by various poets are presented alongside the works. This approach pairs landscape with language to present the influence of classical antiquity in the Greek War of Independence. The exhibition is curated by Nicholas Alexiou, poet and Founder/Director of the Hellenic American Project.
Diachronically, the relationship of the Greeks and the “West” with ancient Greece is a problematic one. In addition to the damages sustained in the four hundred years of Ottoman occupation, Christianity too, was against the so-called pagans. The Greek freedom fighters of 1821, in a way, restored the relationship with antiquity by realizing themselves as direct descendants of the ancients. The great General Kolokotronis, in a speech addressing the youth said “This place where we live was inhabited by the ancient Greeks, form whom we also come and receive this name”. The self-identification of the Greeks as a continuity of the ancient world cultivated a national imagination, which contributed to the establishment of the modern Greek state.
In creating the sketches presented in this exhibition, John “Yanni” Fotiadis, a Greek from the American diaspora, an architect by training and profession, reminds us about the necessary and fundamental principles of equilibrium among developments in scientific, economic, or artistic fields, and respect for nature and democracy. “Solace of Antiquity” reminds us that Greek antiquity is revolutionary art, as long as we keep discovering a meaning, which always awaits us. In our present liquid modernity, the solace of antiquity can help us as individuals and as a collective consciousness, to resolve the conflicting demands of our historical circumstances.
This art exhibition is the fourth such presentation by HAP. It seeks to continue commemorating the bicentennial anniversary of the Greek War of Independence, and reveal to the community, locally and internationally, the significance of the arts, and the creative imagination of the Hellenic Diaspora. All the exhibitions feature works of Greek American artists and are available on the HAP website, www.hapsoc.org, in Gallery.