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"The People of Despotiko Island" A photography exhibition by Mary Chatzaki at the Consulate General of Greece in New York

Tuesday, 15 October 2019

On October 10, the Consulate General of Greece in New York held the opening of the photography exhibition "The People of Despotiko Island" by photographer Mary Chatzaki. The subject of the exhibit escapes the usual: the spotlight is not on the island's archaeological monuments but on the team of people working on the excavation and restoration site on this Cycladic isle close to Antiparos and Paros islands.

Chatzaki's photographs are of exceptionally high quality, and with their special beauty, they showcase not only the material cultural heritage of Greece but also its lesser known, intangible aspect. Focused on the human involvement in the excavation and restoration of antiquities, the artist records the skillful Greek marble craftsmanship. The lens showcases the antiquities alongside our cultural creativity.

As the exhibit's curator, art historian Louisa Karapidaki stresses, "the work forms a rare body, reflecting a contemporary photographic practice called recording image. It is the non-fake image, where the photographer shifts from being an observer to becoming an agent recording a reality. The photograph is not subjected to beautification or scene-setting. Rather, the photographer relies on speed, angle, and light to intensify the description and form the dynamics of the ambiance being captured.

Despotiko island is situated almost exactly in the center of the Cyclades complex of islands. This strategic geographical location made this isle, which nowadays is inhabited, an important maritime hub throughout the prehistoric and archaic period. Archaeological research has revealed an important archaic sanctuary, possibly devoted to god Apollo. The excavations also brought to light abundant objects indicating links to the mainland, the Eastern Mediterranean and even Northern Africa.

The exhibition will be open to the public through October 25.

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