Eugenia Raskopoulos has always felt the influence of her Greek roots in every part of her life, from growing up speaking Greek with her grandmother, to uncovering new meanings of the language through her art today.
It is something that Ms Raskopoulos discussed with The Greek Herald, explaining how language is “a thread that runs throughout” her whole practice.
Growing up surrounded by languages:
Born in the Czech Republic to Greek parents, Ms Raskopoulos tells us of the long history that she has with multiple languages and the roles they played in her early life.
“There were several languages that I grew up with. Greek was also always spoken in the house. I went to school without a word of English. Then my parents also had this secret language, which was Czech because they were both fluent in Czech,” she explains.
Ms Raskopoulos then goes on to detail how she experienced a typical migrant upbringing, being raised by her grandparents while her parents worked and her role of translator for her grandmother at a very young age.
“My grandmother looked after us and, you know took us grocery shopping and would ask me to ask whoever in English how much something cost. So, I had the role of translator from a very young age,” she said.
Influence of early life on her work:
All this has influenced Ms Raskopoulos’ new exhibition ‘The Shadow of Language’ at the Kronenberg Mais Wright art gallery in Sydney, which is running until 9th April 2022.
The artist attributes aspects of her work to her bilinguality, in addition to the third language she grew up knowing but not speaking – Czech.
Walking into her exhibition, you’ll be welcomed by bright pink neon lights affixed to large sculptures and one piece in particular draws your eyes to the artists concept of language.
The main piece of artwork is a bright sculpture with the Greek words ‘ο άλλος είναι στον εαυτόν’ which translates to ‘the other is within the self’.
“I believe that we are not one thing you know, we are made up of others,” Ms Raskopoulos explains.
“It’s something I’ve explored in all my work, and it’s about difference and the accepting of difference.”
“Once work is on the wall, you’ve moved onto the next thing”
After this exhibition, the artist has some other exciting ventures that she is working on as well. She was able to tell us of her next step, which is a project that she received a grant for by The Australian Council, titled ‘And the beat goes on’.
The project will include the recorded heartbeats of 96 women all aged over 47, along with the image of their cardiograms and sections of those cardiograms transformed into neon work.
“The reason I have used these numbers is that my grandmother’s heartbeat stopped when she was 96, I was 47,” Ms Raskopoulos explains.
She goes on to detail how the work will be a diverse piece including women of all backgrounds to create a “minimalist harmony.”
Although this piece is just one thing that she is working on, Ms Raskopoulos plans to keep her vibrant and youthful energy forever.
“The idea of a woman maturing is not for me,” Ms Raskopoulos says,
“I want to keep learning till the day that I die, I want to keep making until the day that I die.”