generations of my Greek family (including myself) just participated in an inspiring artistic and
cultural event honoring Nikos Kazantzakis this past week at the Meropion in Athens, Greece 10/2-10/6/2017 just below below the Acropolis. This event was co-sponsored by UNESCO Piraeus and Islands and the Athens/Art International Art Festival.
A catalogue can be found here: Catalogue
This art exhibition and gathering was dedicated to the prolific Greek author, poet, and thinker Nikos Kazantzakis who passed away 60 years ago. It was co-organized by Professor Takis Alexiou, creator of the AthensArt/The International Arts Festival and UNESCO Piraeus and Greek Islands.
I exhibited my painting "Wind Passes Through Me" based on a poem I wrote that is inspired by Kazantzakis' Odyssey: A Modern Sequel based on Homer's Odyssey. This extraordinary volume is considered to be Kazantzakis' seminal work. "A central theme of Kazantzakis is the importance of struggle for its own sake, as opposed to reaching a final goal." LINK
In creating my artwork that hung in this exhibition I was moved by this central theme and feel a personal kinship to it for many reasons. For now, suffice it to say, the brief verse came into my mind when stuck in considerable traffic driving on the southbound FDR one day.
"Wind passes through me.
Bright light finds
The empty spot
In my mind."
Above: I met a Greek high school student who helped me translate my poem to proper Greek for my acrylic painting "Wind Passes Through Me" (above).
52 x 62 inches
I often use my poems to inspire my paintings and other visual art work. I have painted several canvases with these words as a point of departure. They bring home to me my lived experience and struggle as well as the possible alchemy of this experience into a higher one. LINK Kazantzakis is influential to me as an artist because he was very much concerned with this theme in his own works of art.
"Light House" Acrylic on Canvas
16" x 20"
Triada Samaras 2016
My cousin Ioannis Zagalaris gave one of two lectures about Kazantzakis during the opening reception at the Meropion. Ioannis has been studying the Odyssey for many years from his perspective as a mathematician and has written about the fascinating links between mathematics and poetry he has discovered in this book. The link between these two content areas (and other similar links) is the basis of the STEAM Art movement that informs much of my work as an Art Educator in the public school system of Paterson, New Jersey.
I currently document this project at a STEAM blog here LINK.
I helped Ioannis to edit one of his Kazantzakis papers into English from Greek. His writings can be found here at the Kazantzakis Wikipedia page under the heading "Further Reading."
Left and Right:
Monday night giving his lecture
Above: Ioannis Zaglaris and Triada Samaras in front of her painting
My great aunt Sofia Zaglaris (Ioannis' mother and my paternal grandmother's sister) also participated in this event with her oil painting, "Calendulas" that is permanently located in The Kazantzakis Museum in Crete.
Above: Sofia Zaglaris her oil painting "Calendulas" Oil on Canvas 36 x 24"
Above: "Home Alone" Acrylic on Canvas 9" x 11" Triada Samaras 2014
Cretan dancers and musicians and many others attended this event including the President of UNESCO Piraeus and Greek Islands.
Above: Cretan dancers and musicians