From ‘steps’ to ‘trail’: The journey to promote Greek Australian artists

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The Greek Australian Cultural League (GACL) has been a long-time supporter of literature and the arts in the Greek community.

Its many annual presentations include the Antipodes periodical, The Literary Competition, The Book Award, numerous book launches, poetry readings, talks, as well as musical performances. The Antipodean Palette (AP) art exhibition is notably one of the GACL’s most successful events.  

Since its inauguration in 2011, by founding co-ordinator Frixos Ioannides, the AP has become a cultural celebration of art, literature and performance, highly anticipated by artists and the community alike. Its opening events have been honoured by the attendance of many notable guest speakers, lecturers and MP’s. Within the last decade the AP has increased in success and popularity with participation from artists nationwide as well as recognition internationally.  

‘In Isolation’ exhibition.

From its humble beginnings, at Steps Gallery Melbourne, the AP has continually engaged, strengthened and enhanced the Greek Community’s identity with the Arts, but has also undergone some significant changes along the way. 

In 2020, despite COVID lockdowns and the consequential ‘hit’ to the art sector, the GACL and AP co-ordinator Aphroditi Karalis, called upon Greek Australian artists to participate in the AP’s first online exhibition titled ‘In Isolation’, thus maintaining connection between our artists and community and ensuring the AP’s continuation.

READ MORE: The Greek-Australian Cultural League announces this year’s Literary Competition.

Reflecting on how COVID had changed our lives, the AP took on another bold approach in 2021 by exhibiting ‘street art’ in Melbourne’s inner city laneways, with the appropriate title, ‘Metamorphosis.’ With the creation of our ‘new social norm’, the AP once again proved resilient in its transformation from ‘Gallery’ to ‘Online’ and now, to ‘Trail’.

In 2022, the AP is proudly presenting an interactive ‘Art Trail’ experience involving a short walk which highlights artworks by eight artists currently represented in the GAAD (The Greek Australian Artist Directory). The selected works, printed on A0 posters, are currently posted around the popular café street and laneway district of Brunswick with maps available to direct viewers along the trail.

Artworks represented in the ‘AP2022 Art Trail’ are by artists who have submitted their artist profile to the GAAD, the first ever Greek Australian Artist Directory and an important archive of Greek art practice in Australia. The GAAD takes the form of an online directory introducing Greek Australian artists, both visual and performing, established and emerging, past and present, who are or have been practising traditional or contemporary art in Australia.

READ MORE: Annual Antipodean Art Palette to take people on art trail through Brunswick.

Since 1970, the GACL has accumulated the names of many talented writers and artists from its many past events. This archive of information is well worth preserving for the benefit of future generations, for researchers and for the Greek Community.

“As AP co-ordinator, I had to search and engage with new artists to participate in the AP each year, which was extremely time consuming. Since Melbourne’s Greek community is highly regarded and viewed internationally as a Greek ‘hot spot’, I was surprised that no such artist directory/register existed. So, an official Greek Australian Artist Directory was long overdue,” GAAD co-ordinator, Vasy Petros, said. 

The proposal for a directory was presented to GACL President, Cathy Alexopoulos, and the GACL committee members in 2020.  

The GAAD is now actively supported by the GACL to promote and support Greek Australian artists and inform the general public. It is most important for the Greek Community to also support the GAAD in order to improve access to our many talented artists and their works. 

The GACL will be continually updating its website to accommodate this exciting new initiative which currently includes the profiles of 40 visual and performing artists with examples of their work, bios and contact details, made available for buyers, collectors, gallery directors and anyone interested in researching Greek Australian art.

With our strong migratory history, the GACL would also like to hear from the Greek Community regarding information on artists who are no longer with us, but whose artistry and service has contributed to the arts in Australia, thus preserving our cultural identity and the value and history of Greek Australian artists.

GACL invites you to take ‘The Journey to promote Geek Australian artists’ by visiting the AP2022- Art Trail from 30 May-12 June 2022. There will be a brief launch on Saturday 4th June, 3:00pm at 420 Victoria Street, Brunswick.

For Enquiries please contact: Aphroditi Karalis on 0448 136 441. To register in the GAAD, please visit gacl.com.au and click GAAD or email infogaclm@gmail.com.

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