Figure 1 by Efrossini Chaniotis
The Little Mykonos Project series
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Having studied sculpture in Australia and painting in Greece, Efrossini’s practice naturally combined both. Her vibrant colour palette is reflective of growing up ‘down under’ and her propensity for storytelling, myth and exploration of Mediterranean themes, the indelible imprint of a rich cultural heritage.
The Painted Sculpture features figurative mixed media works which Efrossini describes evocatively as representing the meeting of Hellenism and Australianism. “My sculptures represent a creative journey through a landscape of migration, cross-cultural education, and artistic identity. In Australia, I learnt to think laterally to develop concepts behind my art and experiment, free from the authority that tradition bares. In Greece, I was taught discipline and to embrace art history and to seek beauty which inspired me to believe in the power of art”
The PAINTED SCULPTURE showcases 3 themes current in Efrossini’s work: The Wishing Tree, The Fisherman and Mermaid’s Tale and The Little Mykonos Project. All 3 explore the capacity for art to generate and tell spirited stories. All three aspire to evoke emotion and wonder in an adult audience and all merge the colour and compositional elements inherent in the painting medium with the figurative, sculptural form.
The influences in her work are drawn from childhood experiences of storytelling, modern art and her Hellenic background. Her execution and themes are in her own admission: “wholly person centred, perhaps romantic and idealized”. As a Greek-Australian and as a sculptor and painter, her work deals with bringing opposites together. Efrossini is compelled to and delights in, discovering ways of creating harmony between things; a purpose ingrained in her from a young age.
The artworks of THE LITTLE MYKONOS PROJECT began with an ending: leaving my ‘Little Mykonos Studio, named after my father’s birthplace in early 2022. The light-filled cubicle and its aqua window sills and door reminded me of the geometric white-washed architecture of the Cycladic islands. 5 years ago when I first moved in, I cut out small tile-like cardboard shapes placing them within the white, wire grid overlaying the bay of windows that overlooked the sky. The motifs mimicked the decorative pigeon homes (Peristeriones) typical of the rooftops of the Cyclades, of which Mykonos island belongs.
These cardboard shapes and the feelings surrounding leaving the studio, inspired a series of figurative sculptures that I envisioned holding all of this in their embrace.
The figures are modeled on the enigmatic Cycladic idols from the Bronze Age. My exploration represents a bringing together of 2 significant cultural icons that belong to the island of my heritage. I reflected on the innocence of my father’s early childhood, honoured my mother who passed away only days after I had received the keys to my then ‘new studio’, acknowledged the creative space that nurtured many artistic adventures and celebrated the stylistic and historical legacy of the Aegean islands of which prehistoric Cycladic art also sprung. My sculptures bring this all together,
“I think of them as wise witnesses to my past, present and future. They give expression to a deeply seeded dimension of my visual vocabulary and the medium through which I make sense of the world. I create them as offerings to others so that together we can contemplate the mystical, the creative spirit, culture and love”