Two Greek artists feature in Sculptures by the Sea exhibition at Sydney’s Bondi Beach


Two Greek artists, Leda Alexopoulou and Liana Papalexi, will showcase their work in this year’s Sculptures by the Sea exhibition held at Sydney’s Bondi Beach until November 7.

The Greek Herald talked with Leda and Liana about their participation in the world’s largest free-to-the-public sculpture exhibition, what inspires their work and their plans for the future.

Leda Alexopoulou:

Tell us about your journey to design.

Ever since I was a little girl, I remember myself being very creative and fascinated by most forms of art. I used to make my own costumes for the Carnival. I improvised and performed in theatre school productions. I made my own little crafts for Christmas presents and so on.

Much later, after I realised that I am inclined by nature to be an artist, I was captivated by the meditative creative process of visual arts and thus decided to enrol in the Athens School of Fine Arts. I have never since stopped working and experimenting with a wide variety of materials. Over the last several years, I consistently find myself examining the relation between humans and nature.

Therefore, I often work directly in a natural environment. In a poetic as well as slightly provocative way, at times straightforward and at times verging on the surreal, my artworks invariably evoke concerns about environmental issues and human existence.

How did you become involved in Sculptures by the Sea?

My latest project under the title ‘Do you want a piece of me?’ is a land art project examining the interplay of nature, human existence and possession by focusing on rocks. The rock stands for continuity, that piece of our native land, our home, that we cherish in our memories, especially when we are homesick. For people displaced from their homes due to war, poverty or climate change, the idea of (re)creating rock-hard foundations in a distant land is paramount.

This idea personally resonates with me as back in the 1960s parts of my mother’s family left Greece for Australia, where they live now. I thought about how one could preserve a piece of home, a piece to remember and possess, ultimately, a self-picture, by way of capturing the imprint of a rock in one’s birthplace and transposing it on a rock in one’s newly adopted country.

To that end, and as soon as I found out about the exhibition in Bondi, I could not think of a better opportunity to showcase this thought of mine, my concerns about humans and the loss of their homelands in general and especially about the experience of Greek people living in Australia.

What was the design process like?

I was elated to be informed that my artwork was accepted! The Sculpture by the Sea team has been extremely kind and helpful as well as very well-organised. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the exhibition was postponed twice. But here we are now!

A piece of Greece is an actual imprint of rocks located in a bay on the island of Crete. I created it in the summer of 2020. The imprint process was a laborious and dangerous affair, as the rocks were rather steep and had to be smeared with a natural, eco-friendly squid ink. I then placed a fabric on top of the rock and brushed it to create the imprint. I have consciously chosen to work with fabric, a flexible material that is easy to carry, pack in a suitcase and travel with. It is now placed over the Tamarama beach rocks.

The idea is that the two landscapes, the Cretan and the Australian, can somehow connect with each other, mirroring the interconnections of the numerous people who have relocated to Australia from around the world.

How does your Greek heritage influence your design work?

Greece has an amazing cultural and historical background which has sprinkled its landscape with ruins and scars spanning six thousand years. The natural environment harnesses a unique energy and accommodates an unbelievable variety of landscapes and a shockingly diverse geography.

This exciting complexity of history and landscape has led me to an endless inspiration giving birth to a variety of ideas, materials and processes. All this results in all sorts of artistic disciplines such as drawings, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, installations, as well as design objects.

What is next for you?

I am currently studying sculpture with different materials such as plaster, clay and marble. At the same time, I enjoy experimenting with more modern materials, ready-mades and 3d printing.

My plans for the future are to remain healthy and concentrate on my art as much as possible. The life of an artist can be quite hard. We have to work for our living while our creativity process requires a lot of time, research, experiment and, above all, patience! 

Liana Papalexi: 

Tell us about your journey to design.

Since I was a little girl, I was drawing and painting all the time. It was my way out, my fun time, my relaxation. So, my studies were about art and design.

In 1995, I studied interior design after completing a semester with the EU’s Erasmus exchange program at UIAH University of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland. Then, I studied ceramics for three years at a Greek public school.

In 2014, I obtained my master’s degree on Lighting Design-Multimedia in Athens. Currently I am at the Athens School of Fine Arts Sculpture working on my thesis.

How did you become involved in Sculptures by the Sea?

In 2019, I was the recipient of a Greek Artist Subsidy from the Consulate General of Greece in Sydney. This subsidy was only for one Greek student of Fine Art School. I was very happy and honoured when my artwork Alice in Porcelain Land was chosen.

What was the design process like?

I developed my final work of my master’s degree on Lighting Design, that combined porcelains and lighting which I was working on for the whole year 2014, by adding a new idea. That was to include Alice, as a metal armature covered by plants, becoming one with the Australian environment and multiply the porcelain forms, spreading them on the rocks over the breathtaking ocean view.

This fantastic landscape where Sculpture by the Sea, Bondi is taking place, was an inspiration to me from the very beginning.

How does your Greek heritage influence your design work?

As I have studied Greek History of Art and Architecture, I have been influenced by their unique perspective and how light is engaging in the creative process.

This translates on my artwork by reflecting the misty translucency of porcelain through light, through the sky and the blue ocean sea as they mix all together with the pear-shaped forms which follow one another under our gaze. Studying classical Greek sculpture at Athens School of Fine Arts (A.S.F.A.), helped me create Alice using myself as a measure role model.

What is next for you?

My next project is to carry out a design of a fantastic staircase, that leads to nowhere, taking crazy, playful directions. I have already made the maquette and can’t wait to make it in real dimensions and hopefully exhibit it in the next Sculpture by the Sea exhibition.




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