Postcards                                           The English translation is now available


“The world will always continue to march forward, sometimes with a limp, sometimes falling and rising with one-legged skits, stumbling, or with cancerous steps. And woe to those who have grown old and tired and are unable to follow.” Alexandros Papadiamantis

“If women are not perceived to be fully within the structures of power, surely it is power that we need to redefine rather than women.” Mary Beard

“They didn’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us.  That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.” Harper Lee

Today’s post features eight new ink and collage drawings, which are part of the series of artwork that I uploaded in the previous post.

Some of today’s artwork is related to the important Greek sculptor, Yiannoulis Halepas and some of his works. The inspiration or need to create an image or set of images is usually accompanied by a little research and exposure to relevant material that interests me. The online search about the artist led to the purchase and reading of the graphic novel by Thanasis Petrou and Dimitris Vanellis with the title Yian Chalepas.




















This book by Petros and Vanellis is the second illustrated novel I bought recently. The first was Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird originally published in 1960, beautifully illustrated by Fred Fordham and translated by Tasos Nikoyiannis. This classic work won the Pulitzer Prize in 1961 and was made into a film in 1962 directed by Robert Mulligan and starring Gregory Peck. I bought this mainly for my son, as I already have a nice old edition published by Heinemann: New Windmills.

To Kill a Mockingbird has been translated into 40 languages or so and has sold millions of copies worldwide. It takes place in a fictional town of Alabama, during the Great Depression. An intelligent and unconventional girl that ages from six to nine years old during the course of the novel is raised with her brother by their widowed father, Atticus, a prominent lawyer, who encourages his children to be empathetic and just. When one of the town’s Black residents, Tom, is falsely accused of raping a white woman, their father defends him despite threats from the community. At one point he faces a mob intent on lynching his client, but refuses to abandon him. Despite his efforts in the end Tom is convicted and then killed while trying to escape custody. His death is compared to “the senseless slaughter of songbirds,” paralleling Atticus’s saying about mockingbirds: “They didn’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mocking bird.”

As I mentioned, when I paint, and because I spend several hours bent over a drawing, I sometimes choose to combine the process with something else, like listening to a literature audio or a podcast, and sometimes cooking. If I have something on the stove or in the oven I draw at the kitchen table. So, some of today’s artwork was created with the sound background of the reading of short stories by Alexandros Papadiamantis. I first became acquainted with Papadiamantis’ work, like most people, at school when I was about 15. Around then I also first read his important and popular novel The Murderess.  But it has been too many years since I read anything of his, and to be honest, I was positively surprised by the timely and timeless nature of the texts, the stark realism, and also, the tenderness and humor, as well as the author’s deep knowledge of human nature. Each text was also a small anthropological study of the morals, customs and conditions of the time. I also found that listening to his stories made Papadiamanti’s language easier for me to understand,  and also, rendered its beauty more visible.

In a text of his, in N.D. Triantafyllopoulos’ book about Papadiamantis (1979), the poet Kostis Palamas wrote:

“I hide something inside me that makes me go back to some distant early years, that my ego turns to every now and then with longing, just because they are far away and seem foreign to me. Someone said: a person is always what he was as a child. I do not know. But I know that something from the child always remains inside even the most altered person, from the age, from the passions, from the thoughts. Its childish something, the luscious and the unexpressed, this poem of the past, the music of what has been lost, shows itself to me again and stands in front of me, somewhat less airy, somewhat more physical (somatised), in the Short Stories of Papadiamantis.”

I also found an article entitled, Today is not Women’s Day, by the writer Petros Tatsopoulos about Mary Beard’s book Women and Power, which I had written about in my post on 12/27/ 2021. So, the book has also been translated into Greek for those who are interested and you can read Tatsopoulos’ entire article in the online newspaper TA NEA (17/06/2024).

Petros Tatsopoulos says about the book: “Within a few dozen pages and with humor that ranges from light and wistful to biting and vitriolic, Beard covers the considerable distance from the Homeric epics and the Elizabethan period to misogynist Internet trolling and the austere clothing choices of Angela Merkel or Hillary Clinton.” He writes: “Since the beginning of Western civilization, women’s public ‘silence’ has been regarded as the only ‘respectable’ position. “Mother, go to your room and take care of your work, the loom, the rocket… the many words are only suitable for men, and more than all for me because I rule this house.” The passage, a “slightly modified” translation by Kazantzakis – Kakridis,  is from the first rhapsody of Homer’s Odyssey. The one who speaks in a shadowy way is beardless (young) Telemachus, and the one who listens to him – and obeys him – is his mother Penelope.” And then he continues: “For two and a half thousand years, the “voice” of women, when it does not feed horror stories, is discredited and undermined. John Chrysostom, in the 2nd century after Christ, wonders what would happen if all males suddenly acquired a female voice: “Would it not be terrible, more unbearable than a plague?”

As I mentioned above I had written about Beard’s book in a post on 27/12/2021, with the title: Myths and her voice (continuation of the 18/12/2021 post), which focuses among other things on how women were silenced, how public speaking became the domain of men, and how myths provide us with ways of seeing and understanding the world, and that there are individual and more collective or universal understandings of myths, which are always embedded in specific cultures, traditions and times, and can be both destructive and limiting, especially for certain groups of people, and also liberating. Referring to Homer’s Odyssey, for example, Mary Beard writes that it would be a cultural crime if we read it only to investigate the well-springs of Western misogyny; it is a poem that explores, among much else, the nature of civilisation and ‘barbarity’, of homecoming, loyalty and belonging.

Some excerpts from this post:

“In her book, Women & Power, Beard explores the relationship between the classic Homeric moment of silencing a woman and some of the ways in which women’s voices are also silenced or repressed in our contemporary culture and politics. She suggests that we need to go beyond “the simple diagnosis of misogyny” because it is only one way of understanding or describing this reality.”

“There are many mechanisms and structures in place that facilitate the disempowerment, silencing and often severing of women from the centres of power. This has been achieved through many routes since antiquity. The silencing and oppression of women are interwoven with varying levels of trauma and violence, violations of human rights, culture and narratives. Mary Beard  writes: “When it comes to silencing women, Western culture has had thousands of years of practice……This is one place where the world of the ancient Greeks and Romans can help to throw light on our own.”

“Beard mentions many examples throughout ancient literature on the authority of the deep male voice in contrast to the higher pitched female. She writes; “As one ancient scientific treatise explicitly put it, a low-pitched voice indicated manly courage, a high-pitched voice female cowardice. Other classical writers insisted that the tone and timbre of women’s speech always threatened to subvert not just the voice of the male orator but also the social and political stability, the health, of the whole state.” A more recent example of this is from Henry James’1886 novel, The Bostonians…”

“A lot of the violence and harassment that women and other groups of people have suffered lie in the structures of powers. Beard writes: “That means thinking about power differently. It means decoupling it from public prestige. It means thinking collaboratively, about the power of followers not just of leaders. It means, above all, thinking about power as an attribute or even a verb (‘to power’), not as a possession. What I have in mind is the ability to be effective, to make a difference in the world, and the right to be taken seriously, together as much as individually. It is power in that sense that many women feel they don’t have – and that they want.”

“Power does not have to be about domination and control over. Without power we cannot set healthy boundaries and our capacity to move through the world with safety and freedom are greatly compromised. So is our capacity to take part in life as equal and respected individuals, to create and actualize our dreams and fulfill our potential. “

You can read the whole text at:

Postcards                                                       The English translation has been completed

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them.” James Baldwin

“The present rearranges the past. We never tell the story whole because a life isn’t a story; it’s a whole Milky Way of events and we are forever picking out constellations from it to fit who and where we are.” From The Faraway Nearby Rebecca Solnit

Today’s post includes references to and suggestions for two books I’ve been reading, an article on how some of Hans Christian Andersen’s19th century fairy tales raised environmental concerns during an age of rapid industrialization, and nine drawing-collage pieces I’ve made recently.


A. The first book, A History of Art In 21 Cats by Nia Gould. The Greek edition, that I purchased was published in 2023. This book introduces us to 21 art movements through illustrated cats, each cultured in the style of a particular period or art master. We travel from ancient Egyptian and Byzantine art to The Renaissance. We are introduced to Rococo, Impressionism, Surrealism, Fauvism, Cubism, Symbolism, Magic Realism, Art Deco, Abstract and Pop Art, The Cobra Group and The Young British Artists, and more. Gould has combined her love for cats and art to create a book featuring cats posing as famous artists and figures in famous works of art. The book is both for adults and children, and I think it would be a great tool to introduce key themes and artists of the various art movements to older school children. It could serve as a workbook of sorts, where students could use animals, objects and human figures to experiment with each style. The book will probably also delight cat lovers.


B. The second book O Κήπος της Αμαλίας / Amalia’s Garden, written by Karolina Mermiga and published in 2023, is very different. It is a historical novel about the life of the first queen of Greece, Amalia, intertwined with the events of the first decades of the independent Greek state, from 1837, when the nineteen-year-old German queen arrives in Athens as the wife of the also young Otto, till 1862, when the royal couple is forced to leave Greece.

As I reflected on the two languages in which I live and communicate, it occurred to me that I have not spoken English since 2011. On the other hand I listen to, write in and read English almost every day. And while I communicate orally in Greek, I read much less now, and I write very little if I exclude the frequent translations of the texts I write for this website. This situation is not the result of choice. It’s just the way things are now. But in a way, both are losses. So with these thoughts on my mind I decided, perhaps as a sort of return. to start watching Greek shows and podcasts on art and books. And that’s how I came across this book.

So among the things I watched and listened to was a presentation of Karolina Mermiga’s book. I chose the book for several reasons. In general, the historical novel is more enjoyable and faster to read than history books. Also, the title conjured personal associations. My mother’s name was Amalia and she always had a small garden in the flats and houses she lived in. She also planted the first flowers in my own garden. I also remembered that when I was little I once asked her why she didn’t have a name day like most people I knew. She told me that she probably got her name from a queen who lived in Greece a long time ago and bore that name. Much later, in high school, I first came into contact with the history of Modern Greece and the reign of Otto.

Mermiga,  taps into historical events and  facts as she weaves the story of a woman charged with the duty of giving birth to an heir in order to start a new royal dynasty. But Otto and Amalia were not destined to become parents. Their childlessness, and especially Amalia’s reproductive capacity, and the truths, speculations, superstitions and beliefs surrounding this issue, will become a socio-political issue, and part of a game played by the great powers: England, France and Russia. As I was looking at various articles somewhere it is mentioned that many took part in this game, from Metternich and advisors and courtiers to court doctors and those who advised that the queen ingest things such as cicadas or gunpowder from the king’s guns. Everyone expected a successor baptized in the Orthodox faith to establish the throne in Greece with Orthodox descendants. “A crown prince acts as a hypnotic for revolutions, a royal newborn has the power to lull an entire nation” writes Zacharias Papantoniou (LIFO magazine).

The childlessness of the royal couple was surrounded by rumours, superstitions, press comments and caricature sketches, since the birth of an heir  meant political stability. It was also one of many other events in their reign that eventually led to the rise of popular discontent with the monarchy, culminating in the intense anti-royal struggle that resulted in Otto’s abdication in 1862. In the book’s ear it is stated that Amalia “endures physical torture for her childlessness and resists insults, but she also resists the exciting new currents of democracy that are blowing all around her.

On the first page of the book the author includes a quote by James Baldwin: “People are trapped in History and History is trapped in them.” So Amalia lived as the time and her place within it dictated, The same applies to all of us, our capacity for self-determination, expression and agency are determined, limited or influenced for better or worse by many factors as I have often mentioned, as well as by the contexts in which we move in, but also from the larger framework, such as History. So just as our ancestral family history touches us in one way or another, History with a capital H also defines or influences our lives.

The echo of the events and the protagonists of history reaches us. In this case, many works of architecture, urban planning, fiscal policy, the character of the birth and development of the newly established state at the time, even attitudes and prejudices of the 19th century, touch us collectively as a nation and a country, but also each of us in discreet personal ways, even today . In 2011, one of Amalia’s legacies became a defining part of my own life.

From Amalia’s letters and other sources we know that she loved Greece, a country full of contradictions that was searching for its identity after the revolution of 1821 and the civil wars, even though when she arrived she saw a country she did not expect and a desolate and devastated Athens. She loved the people, the landscape and the climate. She loved horse riding and swimming, which she was often deprived of, as it was thought that they contributed to infertility. This love of hers was also expressed in projects she engaged with. Among other things, she left an important imprint on the collective memory of the Greeks, mainly with the “Amalia costume”: the urban costume of the Peloponnese that was also common in Athens, and which, as I learned, played an important role in the evolution of Greek costume history. But she was mainly interested in agriculture, importing plants and trees from other places, beautifying Athens by planting trees  in squares, hills and sidewalks of the capital, where she also created her famous garden, now known as the National Garden. She also developed  charitable activity. It was through her efforts that the then pioneering insurance institution for sailors was founded, the “Ophthalmiatreio” (1843), the “Amalieio Orphanage” (1855), etc. A hundred and fifty six years later. in this last institution, I did a part of my internship of a master’s program in clinical psychology in 2011.

I’ll end this piece with a short extract from the book:

“And if I had read Greek mythology better, what would I change? Strange winds blow here, so different from those of Oldenburg. Here they carry sea salt, which sticks to the lips, and divine wrath – wrath of gods who for centuries have hidden under the foam of the waves, but have not perished. Because very few things are truly lost in this land, most remain hidden and waiting until the time comes for them to burst into the foam, joyfully or vengefully.”

C. My artwork led to re reading some of Hans Christian Andersen’s stories and to the article I mentioned above:  How 19th century fairy tales expressed anxieties about ecological devastation at:

The article explores how some of Hans Christian Andersen’s tales, like: A Drop of Water, The Daisy and the Flax, The Fir Tree and The Great Serpent, raised environmental concerns during an age of rapid industrialization. In the article it is suggested that by exploring the repercussions of an industrialised landscape, Andersen’s tales provided commentary on the threat to the English landscape and its population.

In Andersen’s tale, A Drop of Water, which is included in the collage part of my drawings today, according to the article, a sorcerer named Creep-and-Crawl examines an extract of ditch water, in which he has added a drop of blood from a witch, using a microscopic lens. He notices organisms that “hopped and jumped about, pulled one another and pecked one another”. Seeing the organism’s violent and seemingly bloody activity a colleague of his assumes that the creatures must be living in a capital city.

Laura Hood, the writer, comments that the Victorian public was equally horrified by the organisms that were hidden in its contaminated drinking water. This fear of water was well founded since “an antiquated sewage system directed London’s cesspools to the Thames, which was the capital’s water reserve. Chemicals from factories were also released into the river, spreading waterborne diseases such as typhoid, cholera, and dysentery.”

She concludes that “Today, with the steady rise of dystopian literature, eco fiction and climate change fiction (otherwise known as “cli fi”), we see similar artistic responses to environmental change which steer readers away from complacency. As authors seek to express the gravity and severity of ecological crises, their literature holds the potential to inspire radical change.”













I have edited the post, and also, finally managed to upload all three drawings (21/05/2024)

Life and art

“A window. How I love a window. A bird, whizzing by. Bumblebee. It’s always different. The whole of life. The whole of life already framed. Right there.“ Maud Lewis

Today’s post includes three bigger drawings-collages, I’ve been currently making, inspired by archetypes in films, stories and art, and ancient Greek models of the mind. I’ve also, read a very interesting analysis by Benjamin Haller of Chris Nolan’s somewhat complex, and with an ambiguous ending, film Inception, which I write about in today’s post. I found Haller’s piece interesting and worth reading, irrespectively of whether one has seen Inception or not. I also make a brief reference to another film I watched recently, Maudie, inspired by folk artist Maud Lewis. Both of the film themes or characters have found their way in my artwork.  The writing, the art making, the books and films, and the brief research on Jungian archetypes and the ancient Greek use of architecture as a metaphor for human consciousness and the mind, have in some sense all been one interrelated art-life process.

In his film Inception Chris Nolan, the director, explores the idea of people sharing a dream space, which gives one the ability to access somebody else’s unconscious mind, and also, how this could be used and abused. The majority of the film’s plot takes place in these interconnected dream worlds. Cobb the protagonist and his team seeming steal information from people’s dreams, which requires finding a safe within the dream that protects valuable information. Inception in the film represents a process of planting ideas in person’s mind without them being aware of it.

In his 2014 paper , The Labyrinth of Memory: Iphigeneia, Simonides, and Classical Models of Architecture as Mind in Chris Nolan’s film, Inception, Benjamin Haller  discusses how Chris Nolan’s film Inception uses architecture as a language to comment upon the relationship of the protagonist, Dom Cobb, with his deceased wife, Mal. He argues that the film draws upon three classical models that use architecture as a metaphor for mind: Homer’s tomb of Myrhine in the Iliad, Iphigeneia’s dream of the collapse of the House of Agamemnon in Euripides’s  work, Iphigeneia Among the Taurians, and Simonides’ Memory Palace mnemonic technique**.  He argues that Nolan’s film similarly to the Greco-Roman tradition use architecture as a metaphor for human consciousness in a manner that reminds one of the work of Carl Jung, who drew on Greek and Roman mythology in framing his psychological theories, the anima, the shadow, and Minotaur-mother archetypes.

** Simonides of Ceos was the inventor of the technique of loci or otherwise, called, memory palace and mind palace, which allows one to memorize vast amounts of information by envisioning a large physical space like a palace or a big house that one is extremely familiar with, and placing the information we want to memorize in various locations within the space. Then by mentally retracing one’s steps through the space one can recall each fact from the feature where it was placed.

The film Inception identifies each of its main characters: Dom, Mal and Ariadne with architectures and modes of cognition.  Mal in Dom’s dreams is identified as a force in his subconscious that Nolan associates with amorphous architectures and spaces like water, which Haller suggests represents the subconscious with all its perilous and salvific potential, and also, in Christian tradition, a symbol of redemption. Dom is the opposite of her and is identified with linear architectures like palaces and straight-line mazes. Ariadne is identified with circular mazes. She is the one who mediates between Dom and his memories of his deceased wife in order to help him overcome his guilt and grief, and also, to complete his greatest heist.

Haller argues that in the film Dom represents the analytical conscious mind, Ariadne the intuitive mind, and Mal the dangerous depths of the subconscious, and that Nolan draws on Jungian ideas about the relation between conscious and subconscious modes of cognition in order to critique gender norms often associated with male protagonists in detective  films and stories. Haller writes: “In Inception, Nolan identifies the architectures of the rectilinear palace or labyrinth, the circular maze, and the amorphous mutability of water as metaphors, respectively, for the conscious, intuitive, and subconscious mind. Nolan’s use of this metaphorical mental architecture is broadly Jungian, especially with respect to the two female leads of the film: Ariadne’s ability to thread psychological labyrinths for Dom recalls the Jungian anima and Mal’s function as part of Dom’s subconscious, which undermines his conscious enterprises, resembles Jung’s shadow and mother archetypes. ……  As Ariadne grows into her anima-like mythological role as threader of labyrinths to rescue Dom’s psyche from dissolution, an alternative narrative of Mal’s self-destruction emerges – one which differs significantly from that related by Dom.” It seems that Dom’s invasions of his wife’s internal architectures, which are embodied in her childhood home in the subconscious realm, and his insistence on linear rationality, have proved destructive.

The premise of this science fiction film is that Dom Cobb (Leonardo Di Caprio) and his wife, Mal (Marion Cotillard), are dream architects, who design and manipulate architectural spaces in dreams within their own and others’ minds, but this activity results in Mal preferring the world of dreams to that of reality. Dom’s plan of action to stop this results in her suicide, when Mal becomes convinced not only that the dream city which they have constructed together is unreal, but that the “real” world is also a dream. The memory of her, gets lodged in the depths of Dom’s subconscious, with disastrous results for his attempts to use his skills to earn money by stealing information from unsuspecting marks’ minds. So, Dom requires the help of someone, who can negotiate the different spaces of the mind in a different way from his own habitual way.  Haller writes: “Just as in Jung’s writings the mythological figure of Ariadne serves as a metaphor for the therapist, Dom’s new assistant, significantly named Ariadne, will fulfill an analogously therapeutic function for him vis-à-vis the architecture of the mind, designing mental labyrinths specifically tailored to thwart unwelcome intrusions by Mal into Dom’s dream palaces…”

Haller additionally discusses how “the architecture of Nolan’s dream world participates in a long tradition of gendering architecture: “feminine” architecture is identified with suppressed, subconscious, or forgotten discourses, and “masculine” architecture with a dominant voice of strident rationality and rhetorical deliberation whose inability to access these suppressed discourses proves its fatal weakness…” He refers to Iphigeneia’s dream, which also attaches gender to architectural spaces. The house is typically divided into male and female spaces, the gynaikonitis, where Iphigeneia sleeps.  Haller explains that the pillars are considered masculine: “the pillars of the home are masculine offspring  (στῦλοι γὰρ οἴκων παῖδές εἰσιν ἄρσενες),” and they have a voice, whereas the females are relegated to the passive female role of lamentation (κλαίουσα).

Haller points to similarities between this architecture and that of Inception. In the film the architecture in Mal’s interior life is encircled by a moat / water, which, he notes, could also suggest that Mal is protecting herself from Dom, who violates her childhood home to implant the idea of the illusory character of their city. Haller adds that Dom’s penetration of Mal’s interior world is represented as a violation of an interior space of her consciousness. Similarly, Iphigeneia’s dream at the start of the tragedy asserts the house of her father as a violated   interior mind space. In the dream this space is also surrounded by the Black Sea. The water both separates her from Greece and protects her.

I will end this piece with two lines from the movie:

“What’s the most resilient parasite? An idea. A single idea from the human mind can build cities. An idea can transform the world and rewrite all the rules.” Dom Cobb

“The seed that we plant in this man’s mind will grow into an idea. This idea will define him. It may come to change everything about him. The way he thinks, the way he acts. It may even come to define his entire worldview.” Dom Cobb

Additionally, I will briefly refer to a film I watched recently, Maudie, directed by Aisling Walsh, with a script by Sherry Whit, and which became part of my drawings. The film is not a biopic, but rather inspired by the life of Maud Lewis, a celebrated Canadian folk artist, who as a child battled with the juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (1901-1970). It focuses more on Lewis’ optimism, determination and perseverance with her art amidst extreme physical pain, hardship and unnecessary poverty. The leading actors’ performances are very impressive. In one review I read, the leading actors Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke are described as “a beautifully matched pair who open up two closed people, unleashing torrents of feeling.” Sally Hawkins’ performance, in particular, is impressive. It’s as if she transforms physically, as if she shrinks and twists into the role, as Maud ages and arthritis ravages her body.

And finally, I will include an extract about art and life from Rebecca Solnit’s book: The Faraway Nearby

“Empathy is a journey you travel, if you pay attention, if you care, if you desire to do so. Up close you witness suffering directly………. Suffering far away reaches you through art, through images, recordings, and narratives; the information travels toward you and you meet it halfway, if you meet it………”, and later in the book  “….  that the whole world is a work of art; that we are parts of the work of art. The sudden appearance of the patterns of the world brings a sense of coherence and above all connection. In the old way of saying it, tales were spun; they were threads that tied things together and from them the fabric of the world was woven. In the strongest stories we see ourselves, connected to each other, woven into the pattern, see that we are ourselves stories, telling and being told. Stories like yours and worse than yours are all around, and your suffering won’t mark you out as special, though your response to it might.”