The 1stArtists’ Residency in Levadia (28 January – 2 February) focused on a first and in depth acquaintance of artists with the city and its people. The artists during their first residency had the opportunity to discover different sources of inspiration for their artistic proposal. The 2ndresidency had as a main objective the artistic intervention of the participating artists for the elevation of the river Erkyna and the space along the river as well as to show that the river is a vital element for the development of the city. There was a positive footprint from the residency in the city.The works of the artists were in full reference to the river and they achieved to create works of artistic value and to draw the attention of the citizens to the river.A very positive outcome during the artists’ residency in Levadia is the fact that strong relations and new friendships have been created between the artists and citizens. This communication still remains vivid through the internet. A very high percentage of people rewards artists, and a significant percentage feels the need to say ‘Thank you’ to them. A short reference to the artistic works:Vynck’s Erkyna has a great impact, as it was expected, due to the quality and size of the project.
t s Beall’s project gave us an idea for organizing a festival on the river’s banks with narrations, music and various happenings. The place which is chosen by Tara, it is a prefect place for a such festival to be held.
Mary’s Conroy project was in a close relevance with the project of “Memory of Water”. Furthermore the project activated the members of EPAPSY and pointed out a productive/artistic work which could be used by people who belong to excluded groups of population. We learned about the nature in the city from local agronomist and artist Mary Michou.
Iwona’s Zajac project in-spite of being more isolated than the others, it connects present and past as well as connects people, water and memory. Iwona’s proposal makes clear the meaning of “Memory of Water” and certainly it is a motive for further research for the people who live along the banks of the river. All the stencils were inspired by the stories of the River Erkyna & Levadia that the artists heard during their first visit in January.
Levadia and the profits from the participation of Levadia in MoW
Levadia is a small city characterized by strong provincialism.
In a small sized city as Levadia there are some negative elements such as gossip and conservatism but at the same time due the small size the news is quickly spread.
The great benefit for the people of Levadia was that they had the opportunity to have a direct contact with contemporary art. In Levadia there is a very restrictive idea about art; not only among people but also among the local artists. Concepts, as research, project, work in progress, social commitment, etc. are not very well understood in practice.
This contact with contemporary way of thinking in arts it was very useful and instructive for local artists.
Vynck’s Erkyna has great impact on the general public. The comments that were written on the fb postings are “masterpiece”, “wonderful”, “impressive”, “wonderful”, “unforgettable”, “jewel”, “perfect”.
Many people make selfies in front of the mural. Some people point out that “the city is changing face” and many congratulate the Municipality.
A resident whose apartment’s balcony has a view to the mural wrote that “I have the chance to see it whenever I want!!! As soon as the weather will get better, our balcony will host good friends for having a beer or other refreshments, unless the weather will keep us inside then we will keep on drinking tsipouro!“
Vynk’s mural had a great acceptance by several local artists.
It is certain that the big dimension mural functioned as a catalyst to make the program widely known.
The same happened also with Tara’s Beall project. The involvement of the of the members of Women’s Association who were dressed in traditional costumes who performed the traditional way of washing, the ride along the river and the walk through the city center attracted the attention of the citizens.
The action of Mary Conroy has mobilized twenty beneficiaries of EPAPSY and EKEPSYE.
Iwona Zajac’s work was more private, but she had the opportunity to contact the audience in a workshop, explaining the technique of stencil.
Local media dedicated many articles to the Artists’ Residency in Levadia and to the Programme “Memory of Water”. Corresponding coverage was also to various local blogs.
The blog of the local newspaper “Boeotian Time” posted the works of Iwona Zajac and Siegfried Vynck. Newspaper “Sterea News” with a circulation to the whole prefecture dedicated two-page tribute to Vynck’s project.
TV station “Star of Central Greece” which has a large audience and a great influence on the local community presented the action of t s Beall focused on the local traditional washing event, but through it passed many information about the program.
A very insightful comment by sociologist Mr. George Tsagas:
“Having as an assumption or starting point of thinking the contradictions of a city, my thought is “not how she manages to balance them, but how she manages to illuminate it or give a positive sign to the sides that belong to the part of the contrasts that have a negative sign because they simply can not or could not join the other part (that of the dominant culture)”.
A recent example
“We have a parking lot that has been under construction for some years now. It was and still remain to be a gray gap in the city.
Someone comes and makes a graffiti and a lot of people who consider graffiti to be either dirt or stupidity suddenly he stands and look at it. He discovers or somebody told him that this mural depicts the mythological Erkyna. Suddenly he feels part of this project as well as thousands of other citizens (a piece of a common identity that has been crumbled for many reasons): When friends will visit Levadia he will want to show them this part of Livadia “
A releasing creativity
The most important effect of the Artists’ Residency in Livadia was the creativity that it prompted.
The Photographic Club organized an exhibition at Cafe Astradeni and Mary Michou directed a poetic short film about the legend of Erkyna.
The Women’s Association Agios Nikolaos was mobilized to make the revival of the carpet washing tradition in the river.
The local young graffitiers turned the wall of the open-air parking lot on a wall of free graffiti with the help of Siegfried.
Also the photographer Panagiotis Tsouras drew a night frame of the wall painting.
Finally, the narrator Lena Polatsidou inspired by the project and she suggested to us many creative ideas for the continuation of the project.
Regarding the resonance of the program outside of Livadia, we note two interesting examples.
The Greek Entropia Theater which is partner to the European Programme Creative Europe – Extended Universe – European Youth Participatory Project called for a workshop with pupils from the school of Levadia.
The Greek Artistic Company Trii organizes in Athens (21 May -05 June 2019) Workshops and Exhibition concerning water with title (WATER-MEMORY-ART) and asked to bring to Levadia the exhibition and the implementation of laboratories, with reference to our program “Memory of the Water”.
Photo exhibition of the Photographic Club of Levadia at the Art cafe Astradeni, (Monday 15th to Sunday 21th April), on the occasion ofthe program «Memory of Water».
The photos of the exhibition focus on the “Water”, as seen with the individual look of each artist.
The Photography Club of Levadia has been operating for 15 years. It has about 30 active members and organizes photographic exhibitions each year in Livadia and other cities in Greece. Apart from exhibitions, seminars and screenings are also taking place. The members of the Club try to embrace and promote any action that highlights the city’s special image and helps in all the actions that are necessary to accomplish this purpose.
Artists: Stathis Anagnos, Maria Christina Athanasopoulou, Eleni Anastasiou, Georgia Antonopoulou, Christos Alogoskoufis, Loukas Bakoloukas, Theodore Bellos, Nikos Bouras, Rania Bantila, Giorgos Bouzas, Aristotelis Dimou, Agathi Kalomoiri, Gianna Karadima, Giota Karadima, Panagiotis Karouzos, Nektaria Kovani, Mia Lamprou, Giannis Lemonis, Mary Michou, Charalampos Pasvantidis, Ninetta Pliakostamou, Giannis Spinos, Marilena Tarampekou, Panagiotis Velaoras, Dimitra Vongli, Maria Vongli, Ria Zachari.