Sterna Organization

Island Hopping—Sterna Art project 2019

Art support

August 9-19, 2019 – Kastellorizo

From August 9th to 19th, 2019, the Società delle Api, a non-profit organization founded by Silvia Fiorucci, hosted an exhibition as part of “Island Hopping”—Sterna Art project 2019 at Casa dell’Olivo in Katellorizo (GR).

The definition of “island hopping” is to cross a sea by means of several brief journeys between islands instead of a single long crossing to the final destination. Originally, the term denoted an ocean’s passage by mammals, with specific references to how animals crossed the Caribbean and reached the American continent. In our time, however, island hopping is linked to summer vacations on more than one island. The notion of migration inherent in the term, and specifically the breaking up of migration into short sections until the final destination, has evolved today into going from one place to another without necessarily having a final destination—or, at least, the destination is not particularly important.

The Sterna organization brought together a team of four visual artists who have already spent time on Nisyros. They studied its materials, codifying and incorporating them into their work according to each one’s personal style and depending on their subjects. After a two-week stay on the island to collect the materials they needed for the journey, they embarked on two ships for another three weeks of island hopping to the south, stopping over at Tilos, Symi, Rhodes, Kastellorizo.

They carried with them “trademark” local materials: pumice stone, sulphur, agramittha (a kind of nut), and thermal water, which are ritualistically offered as gifts to the islands linked to Nisyros by regular boat connections. On the other hand, what pushes these artists, amidst the tourist high season, to create something of no apparent commercial value? What kind of good is contemporary art, and how does it relate to tourism? In a special time when art and tourism are the mainstays of Greek production, what is the role of artists and why are they producing during a season designated as a time to rest and consume?

What was attempted here in a way was a kind of “branding” of artistic production while traveling from place to place; a process that involved the creation of a unique name or image for contemporary visual art. The “tourists-consumers” were recipients of a constant artistic process. This “branding” concerned the artists themselves and their work, but also Sterna; after all, a brand is the essence of the unique personal experience of each of us.

The journey started from Nisyros with the intention of disseminating the people, the materials, the experiences, and the processes that took place on the island, the ferries and the local speedboat, the religious festivals and the cultural events that the participants ran into; but also the squares and the beaches until their arrival to Kastellorizo and their return to Athens (where they live). The emphasis was on materiality, the special geography of remote islands, the necessities, the interests, the scheduled itineraries in high season, the “tribes” of nomads, visitors, etc.

Ultimately, how can the energy from the volcano be conveyed without an explosion?

Participants: Dora Economou, Agnieszka Gratza, Virginia Mastrogiannaki, Paky Vlassopoulou

Artistic director: Greg Haji Joannides

Location: Nisyros, Tilos, Symi, Rhodes, Kastellorizo

Sterna, founded in 2014 by artist Greg Haji Joannides, is an interdisciplinary non-profit organization whose purpose is to foster and nurture the creative expression of artists while challenging perceptions of what constitutes contemporary visual culture. The Sterna Art Project is designed as an active site, a space for artists to converge through its residency programs, workshops, meetings and exhibitions throughout the whole year in various spaces around the island. The organization places a strong emphasis on the location of the residency in Nisyros and works actively to make a compelling connection between the resident artists and the island, its residents and the existing cultural events.

The project is organized by Sterna organization in collaboration with the Municipality of the Nisyrians. With the support of: ΝΕΟΝ organization for Culture and Development; Partner for Kastellorizo: La Società delle Api.