Every summer since 2009, DESTE has invited an artist or group of artists to develop an exhibition in the Foundation’s Project Space, a former slaughterhouse on the island of Hydra. This year, DESTE’s Project Space will feature a site-specific exhibition by Kara Walker, conceived in a dialogic relationship with both the original elements of this unique exhibition space and with the landscape which surrounds it.
The project will transport Figa, the left hand of the sphinx-like monument of the A Subtlety installation made with polystyrene and sugar, from its “new world” location at the Domino Sugar Factory in New York to Greece, the birthplace of Western civilization.
Configured into a fist with thumb thrust between the index and middle fingers (known as the “fig sign”), the Figa has multiple meanings across culture and history, from Ancient Greece and Rome into the modern era. While it is generally thought of as very rude sign, it also has magical properties as an emblem of fertility and protection against the evil eye.
In its new location, the sculpture’s transformation from art object to holy relic will be completed by further applying copious amounts of sugar to its surface in a collective act of “sweetening” the loss of home, country, ideology, or faith that is our global zeitgeist. Appealing to the condition of slaves, migrants, refugees, outcasts, and marginalized peoples Figa, like A Subtlety before her, draws on the pilgrim spirit in all of us that seeks spiritual and material fulfillment at the end of a catastrophic journey.
The exhibition will be on view at the DESTE Foundation Project Space, Slaughterhouse, Hydra between June 20 and September 30, 2017.
20.6.2017 – 30.9.2017
Mon. – Sun. 11:00 – 13:00 & 19:00 – 22:00
The “Happening,” the spectacular reenactment of the sinking by Miaoulis’s men of the Turkish flagship, featuring the siege and burning of an actual boat in the harbor and culminating in a spectacular fireworks display, takes place on Saturday, June 27. The harbor gets quite crowded, so be sure to get there early to find your viewing spot, be it a table at a cafe or perch on the hillside.
Hydra is famed for its Miaoulis Festival, or Miaoulia, commemorating Admiral Andreas Miaoulis, an important Hydriot naval commander in the Greek War of Independence (1821–1827), and his leadership in the Battle of Elder. The event closes with the “Happening,” a reinactment of the sinking by Miaoulis’s men of the Turkish flagship, featuring the siege and burning of an actual boat in the harbor and culminating in a spectacular fireworks display.
The preceding week of the festival includes a series of celebratory events, including boat races, folk dancing, athletic, artistic, and other cultural exhibitions, concerts, and the like.
This great feasting day in the Greek Orthodox Church commemorates the “falling asleep,” or death, of Mary, the mother of Jesus, and her bodily resurrection before her ascent into heaven. The feast is preceded by a two-week fast, from August 1 to August 14, from red meat, poultry, meat products, dairy products (eggs and milk products), fish, oil, and wine.
This year’s annual concert to benefit Hydra’s hospital will feature violinist In Mo Yang. Tickets will be available at the Leto Hotel starting in July.
Korean violinist In Mo Yang, First Prize Winner of the 2014 Concert Artists Guild Competition, has been hailed by the Boston Globe for his “…seamless technique and a tender warmth of tone,” combined with “…an ability to project an engaging sense of inner sincerity through his playing.” In March 2015, he won the 54th International Violin Competition “Premio Paganini” in Genoa, Italy, marking the first time since 2006 that the Paganini Competition jury has awarded the First Prize. He also garnered the following special prizes: Youngest finalist; Best performance of the contemporary original piece; and Performance most appreciated by the audience, confirming The Violin Channel’s praise of In Mo as “one of the new generation’s most talented young string virtuosi.” Read More
Hydra hosts two annual three-day regattas that mark the beginning and end of the racing season. The first, held on the weekend before Independence Day, or March 25, is organized by the Hellenic Offshore Racing Club and heralds the beginning of the summer. The second, held on the weekend before Oxi Day, or October 28, is organized by the Historical Yacht Club of Greece.
Uploaded to YouTube by fonitisydras
Uploaded to YouTube by Κωνσταντίνος Κουκουδάκης
Oxi Day commemorates the rejection by Greek prime minister Ioannis Metaxas (r. August 4, 1936—January 29, 1941) of the ultimatum, made by Italian dictator Benito Mussolini on October 28, 1940, demanding that Greece allow Axis forces to enter Greek territory and occupy certain unspecified “strategic locations” or otherwise face war. Read more.
Photograph from Foni tis Ydras (http://fonitisydras.com/index.php/info/society/item/995-lampros_o_eortasmos_ths_ethnikhs_mas_epeteiou).
Born in 1770, Constantine the Hydriot, Hydra’s patron saint, was a neo-martyr from the period of the Turkish occupation of Greece. Constantine had converted to Islam when living in Rhodes, then later reverted to the Orthodox faith. The Turkish authorities imprisoned him for apostasy and hung him on November 14, 1800. He is celebrated on November 14 to huge feasting and fanfare on Hydra.
Constantine’s family lived in the Kiaffa area of Hydra. Today, the Cathdral of Konstantinos is built on the site of his birth. From the concrete terrace adjoining the church you can enjoy a stunning view of Kiaffa, over the roofs cascading down to the port and to Kamini, then across the harbor to the Peloponnese beyond.
The Athens Polytechnic uprising in 1973 was a massive demonstration of popular rejection of the Greek military junta of 1967–1974. The uprising began on November 14, 1973, escalated to an open anti-junta revolt and ended in bloodshed in the early morning of November 17 after a series of events starting with a tank crashing through the gates of the Polytechnic.
November 17 is currently observed as a holiday in Greece for all educational establishments; commemorative services are held and students attend school only for these, while some schools and all universities stay closed during the day. The central location for the commemoration is the campus of the Polytechneio. The campus is closed on the 15th (the day the students first occupied the campus on 1973). Students and politicians lay wreaths on a monument within the Polytechneio on which the names of Polytechneio students killed during the Greek Resistance in the 1940s are inscribed. The commemoration day ends traditionally with a demonstration that begins from the campus of the Polytechneio and ends at the United States embassy.
The student uprising is hailed by many as a valiant act of resistance against the military dictatorship, and therefore as a symbol of resistance to tyranny. Others believe that the uprising was used as a pretext by Brigadier Dimitrios Ioannidis to put an abrupt end to the process of ostensible liberalisation of the regime undertaken by Spiros Markezinis.
From Wikipedia’s page “Athens Polytechnic uprising.”