New York.- By Vicki J. Yiannias
on Monday evening, March 21, another winning reception hosted by the Onassis Cultural Center in the Olympic Towers Atrium inaugurated the newly mounted exhibit titled Odyssey, by the artist Artemis. The reception was at the invitation of Mr. Stelio Papademetriou, the President of the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Association (USA).
The artist’s twelve, very large tapestries of many-colored abstract shapes, reflecting the light of the Cycladic islands, are hung dramatically high on a wall in the Atrium. They are woven out of wool, cotton, silk, and viscose on vertical looms.
Guests alternately watched, on a large screen, a series of images of Tinos and the artist at work that brought the atmosphere of Greece into the Atrium.
The tapestries tell the story of the journey of Odysseus back to Ithaka after the Trojan War. Ambassaor Lukas Tsilas, Executive Director of the Onassis Foundation (USA), read a letter addressed to all the guests from President Stelio Papademetriou. “Being with you in spirit, I wish to extend to all of you a word of welcome. To Artemis, heartfelt congratulations, and especially to the Foreign Minister of Liechtenstein, Dr. Walch, and Ambassador Fritsche, and certainly Ambassador Wenewaser, many thanks for attending this important event. The exhibition of Artemis offered by the Onassis Cultural Center in the name of its rich cultural history is a typical example of the objective that the Onassis Foundation has set as its mission, namely, the promotion of Hellenic civilization in its truest diachronic and innovative sense. Artemis is an artist from Liechtenstein, who, inspired by the Odyssey, the millennial Hellenic epic and the creation of the Greek land, offers us today magnificent artwork that speaks to all of us and helps us truly understand the intricacy of our golden heritage. I am certain that our guests, and later, the public will enjoy and appreciate Artemis’ beautiful tapestries.”
“Now we have time to look at and be inspired by this other Odyssey,” H.E. Dr. Ernst Walch, the Minister of the Principality of Liechtenstein, said to the Greek News when the reception commenced. “Artemis is an artist of French descent who was married and lived in Liechtenstein since the 1960’s; now she lives in Greece, on the island of Tinos. This show is a cocktail, a conjunction of everything . . . Onassis, Lichtenstein, Artemis’s life. All of it together produces this.”
An interesting idea, and an accurate one, as the evening was one of great good will between the distinguished guests from Liechtenstein and the representatives of the Onassis Foundation (USA).
Speaking to the guests, H.E. Dr. Walch first thanked Ambassador Tsilas and the Onassis Foundation for their support, the wonderful evening, the impressive environment, and the Odyssey exhibit, saying that he had been asked to make a few opening remarks. “You might ask, ‘Why a Liechtenstein representative?’ The reasons are manifold; if I went into all of them we would be standing here until tomorrow morning, so let me mention just a few.
There was Aristotle Onassis. There was his loved America, and there was, has been, and still is, Liechtenstein’s financial service center, the foundations, the trust possibilities, Liechtenstein’s neutrality, Liechtenstein’s political stability, and its policy of non-interference in private affairs and matters.
All of that enabled Onassis and his Foundation to become an important contributor, a benefactor — not only in the fields of education, science, health, environmental — but for tonight, most importantly, the arts.
Greece is an inspiring place for religion, an inspiring place for mind and soul. Greece provides the inspiration and the philosophical basis; Aristotle Onassis, Liechtenstein, and the Foundation provide the material and structural basis: all of these are necessary, and tonight, we are privileged to witness the results.”
Artemis spoke to the Greek News along with Greek-born painter Costas Zimarakis, who asked her questions about her work. Asked what inspires her, the artist said that it is the light of the Aegean. “Some scientists have measured light in places thought to have the strongest light. They are a place in Canada, the Greek island of Delos, and Hawaii. The strongest light, they said, is on the island of Delos . . . I can see Delos from my window.”
Among the distinguished guests at the reception were The Honorable Consul General of Greece Katerina Boura, Ambassador & Mrs. Michael Sotirhos, Vice President of the Onassis Foundation (USA); Mr. & Mrs. Michael Jaharis, Board Member of the Onassis Foundation (USA); H.E. Ambassador Roland Marxer, Director of the Office of Foreign Affairs of Liechtenstein; H.E. Claudia Fritsche, Ambassador of Liechtenstein to Washington DC; H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenewaser, Permanent Representative of Liechtenstein to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Adamantios Vassilakis, Permanent Representative of Greece to the United Nations; H.E. Ambassador Andreas Mavroyiannis, Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations; The Honorable Consul General of Cyprus, Martha Mavrommati; The Honorable Consul General of Venezuela, Leonor Osorio, many other diplomatic and consular authorities, directors & curators of museums.