Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Week One is Done!

 It’s been just over one week at the residency and looking back it has been such a wonderful experience of colour, art, images to excite the eye and so much more…I admit that its been challenging to focus and go deep into any one component of my ideas that I began with! My plan in the last post will continue…that is creating small vignettes of an idea or concept…

But first some eye candy of our travels over the weekend. We hired a car, small but mighty, and rented a room in Matala - remember Joni Mitchel and her song “Carey”? Yup, that’s the place of hippie caves…

It is now quite touristy with lots of restaurants and small hotels but a good base for exploring further! 

Have you ever had a day that was just perfect in every aspect and around each corner was a new experience and a visual feast? Our day to the Agiofarango Gorge was totally amazing!

First a stop at the Odigitria Monastery which is still an active site for services and visitors, of course I need to find the embroideries…

But a short walk up the hill behind showed us another, newer, chapel where the inside was still being painted..bright clear colours which was probably how the insides of the other places were…many years ago!

Further along the bumpy, twisty road we parked and walked a couple kms. Along the dry river bed with the walls of the gorge rising up on either side. There was the clang, bong of goat bells around us and I was amazed at how high up the cliffs those little critters could climb…and a few people!

But wait! More surprises around the bend…people…up in the air…walking….

And yes, we went in swimming, and no, we hadn’t taken our swim suits…but beach attire seemed quite optional…(yeah, not me!)

Our reward at the end of the day:

 Yesterday afternoon we visited the Arkadi Monastery near Rethymno, a beautiful location with a long and troubling history.

From their website: Today, the Sacred Monastery of Arkadi observes the canonical rules of the Orthodox Church, both as a fully operating monastery and as a pilgrimage destination of religious tourism.

Seven monks live, work and serve the Church in the monastic cells of Christ the Savior, St. Constantine and his mother St. Helen.

While it appears that the site may have been founded as early as the 11th century, it is in more recent times that the site became a unifying symbol of Greek nationalism. (Keep in mind these words are from their website)

Yet, the most glorious event that elevated the fame of the historic Monastery is its resistance to the Ottoman conquerors. In 1866, at the start of the Cretan Revolution against the Ottoman imperialism, 964 fighters and people from the nearby villages found themselves enclosed inside the Monastery, in an effort to save themselves and fight against the tyranny they had suffered during the Ottoman occupation.

In the two-day siege, the Cretans rightly fought against the Ottomans, and despite their sacrifice in the monastic cells, the yard or even the powder keg that ended their life, that siege has been a loud awakening for the peoples of Europe regarding the trials that the conquerors subjected the Cretans to. It defined and determined the spirit and courage of the Greeks against injustice and forcible occupation of their land.

An artistic depiction installed in the powder keg (copy of a painting by Vryzakis, exhibited in the National Gallery) fully attributes the meaning and the ideals the captivated Cretans fought for in the Monastery of Arkadi. As Hegumen Gabriel gives his blessing for the start of the fight for their belief and their ideals, the besieged people around him are in agony, they suffer, they hope, they struggle, they sacrifice themselves and anticipate, after their sacrifice, their own Resurrection in eternity, laurel-crowned, brought by angels from the sky.

More information about the history (including embroidery) can be found here: https://arkadimonastery.gr/home.html

As I spend more time in Greece, I realize that the struggles (on both sides and in particular, their experiences in the last century) are still very much part of their emotions, art, music and much more - there are still people alive who remember the privations of WWII, families with connections to the Greek-Turkish Population Exchange (I admit being oblivious to this forcible relocation) and even the financial crisis of 2008 which had huge impacts on businesses and families. It serves us all to be knowledable about places we visit and understand the people, even a small amount.

Lest you think this is all a tourist trip…I have been working, sketching a bit each day although in a very rudimentary fashion…definitely  need to work harder on this!

And some small pieces are showing promise..I love the variety of shapes of the pottery vessels in so many different sizes and configurations…both modern and those in museums. So I cut a couple small stencils and plan to work more on these today..

A rough, primitive and somewhat childish collage of a building on our travels this weekend:

And the wall in my workroom, with falling plaster and dusty rocks…

Some painted and marked fabric to tear up and mess around with! 
Now, to work!!!


Denny1600 said...

I Have done three residencies. I went with ideas. I got to act on some of those ideas. I found myself learning about the area. The history, geography, animals worked their way into my art from the residencies. I didn’t explore all of my ideas because I explored each region. Just as you are experiencing, the excursions are important. The work was not happening on the “schedule” that I imagined. However, all of that exploration—physical and in your art—is valuable in so many ways. I think you’re doing it exactly right.

Susan Purney Mark said...

Thank you for the comment, I am now feeling like I’m more in the groove this week! Definitely two weeks is not enough, I’ll take that into consideration for the next one!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this!