“When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.”JIMI HENDRIX.
As ‘ELIXIR- the candles of Peace’ concludes in Greece, there are three women who come under the spotlight, who by means of their effort and dedication, have turned the festival into a massive success. Here is an interview with the Greek Coordinator and Organiser, Mrs Irene Doura-Kavadia, the President of UNESCO TLEE Group, Mrs Diakovasili Nina and Mrs Lina Rezek who literally takes us for a journey to Syria where the normal lives of the citizens are devastated by calamities.
Irene Doura – Kavadia is a holder of two Master’s Degrees (MA in Comparative & MSc. in Computational Linguistics). She has worked as a tutor of foreign languages (English, German, French and Spanish) and as a translator and research associate. She is the owner & CEO at “ACADEMY CENTRES”. As a writer (author, poet, essayist) she has participated in various literary competitions and has received corresponding awards, accolades and honors, both in Greece and abroad. She is a member of the National Union of Writers, the Union for the Greek Cultural Heritage, the World Peace Academy, the International “World Poets Society”, the Australian Literary Union “Diasporic”, the UNESCO Letters, Arts & Sciences Node GR, the World Philosophical Forum, and the American “International Writers Association”. Her work has been acknowledged by many National and International Organizations, by “Women Leaders – 2019 and 2020”, and by “Who Is Who– Purple Edition, 2020”. In 2020 she was appointed the Director of the Writers Capital International Foundation Greece.
Good evening Mr. Irene Doura-Kavadia. You were recommended by Ms. Lina Rizk/Erzek to organize the Greek participation. Seeing the massive impact, what did you promise yourself?
Good evening, Mr Kyropoulos, it is a great pleasure to be here with you tonight, in the framework of this wonderful encounter.
From the first moment I was recommended to organize the Greek team as a Coordinator, I felt great joy, as Greek artists would have the opportunity to showcase their talent abroad, and in fact among participants from more than 40 countries! If this proposal had not been made to me, our country might have missed participating in such a big event. Given the fact that, due to the difficult conditions we experience, the sensitive souls of artists are affected even further by the confinement, isolation and absence of visual stimuli, which are so dear as well as essential to them, such as snapshots from life and nature, as they need every kind of motivation and encouragement in order to continue their work smoothly and to develop it to higher levels. They need to open the horizons of their inspiration every day. Of course, I also include myself in this category, as a poet and I see how much my colleagues need eternal creation as an antidote to depression and stagnation. One therefore understands the enthusiasm shown by the Greek artists, as within just three days following my invitation they reached the maximum allowed number of participants, i.e. the twenty artists. This was the trigger for me too; to draw from their enthusiasm, as well as to arm myself with courage, but also a sense of responsibility towards this wonderful team, which I now consider my family, promising to help them with all my strength to spread their wings beyond the borders of our homeland to all the lengths and breadths of the Earth. Proof is the next exhibition I coordinated with twenty other participants in Libya in partnership with NADA ARTS, as well as the exhibition that combines the Hagiography Awards from the WRITERS CAPITAL FOUNDATION that I represent as Secretary General, because they themselves requested it. And a great sequel follows…
Why is art so important? Is it the language of humanity after all?
“You use a glass mirror to see your face: you use works of art to see your soul.”
George Bernard Shaw
Undoubtedly, art is the common language of humanity that reflects all aspects of the human soul. The magic with this art form is that you do not need words to capture the meanings – explicitly or implicitly. On the canvas, the painter opens up his own soul and depicts the respective inspiration by means of their brushes and the colour palette. The sculptor sculpts their creation on marble, which also does not need translation, as its meaning is self-evident. This is true of other similar art forms, such as pottery, engraving, architecture, photography or film-making, among others. Indeed, visual arts are able to bring together people whose language keeps them apart from each other with great response and success in fact. Proof of these are the international exhibitions that unite peoples with the aim of spreading the concept of world peace and the reconciliation of peoples.
If you were not Greek through the eyes of which people would you like to see the world and what would you like to tell the Greeks?
This is a very difficult question. I could never be or not feel Greek! Also, it is very difficult for me to find a people who can show something to the Greeks. I will borrow here the verses attributed to a German philosopher «[…] Greeks… Wherever I turn my thought, wherever I turn my soul, I find you in front of me. I crave for art, poetry, theatre, architecture; you are in front of me, first and unsurpassed. Whether it is science, mathematics, philosophy, medicine, they are too top and unsurpassed in these fields. For democracy I thirst or equality, you are still before me, unbeatable and unshaded…[..]». Johann Wolfgang von Goethe also wrote that what is the mind and heart for man, Greece is that for the world…
However, it would be a great injustice for peoples who have made great strides in many areas to downgrade their contribution to world heritage. What I would like my compatriots to see is the pride with which the peoples of Central and Western Europe display their monuments, and the exemplary effort to preserve their cultural identity as well as the environmental responsibility they display, having maintained the glamour of the cities, and green belts, not having turned them into cement cities.
After what Syria has gone through, do you think that through this exhibition on the friendship of peoples and the values of life is finally finding the strength to continue?
It is gratifying that a nation that has suffered the devastating effects of the catastrophic rage of war has the will and the courage to stand on their own two feet again and shake off the power of life over death. To highlight through actions that unite peoples supreme principles and values such as those of reconciliation, solidarity, fraternity, and peace; to drive away the clouds that darkened the horizon and with the light of the “Candles of Peace” (Candles of PEACE) to prove that life never ends and the sun will always rise again. We Greeks, as a people, have experienced it several times and like the mythical Phoenix we have been resurrected from our ashes – after all, this year marks the 200th anniversary of the commencement of the Hellenic War of Independence and the reestablishment of our Nation. We therefore always feel in solidarity with anyone who is tormented and suffering, even extending a helping hand wherever we can. Undeniably, it is a great accomplishment when a friendly people tries to rebuild and redraw its route forward for a better future based on ideals and values that unite and reconcile, conveying in any way and through any action the message of peace and reconciliation; of life that always shines and transcends darkness.
INA RIZK was born in 1975 in Syrian capital , Damascus (the oldest town in the world). Her parents discovered her hobby when she was a little girl. they encouraged her to express her skills. after she finished her school education, she found the way to her dreams and entered to the fine art faculty in Damascus and graduated in 1996. At the same time she got more skills from a specialized art institute (ADHAM ISMAEEL ) and was graduated in 1995. She traveled to many countries to enrich her art knowledge, and take a look at many civilizations such as Pharaonic in Egypt, Romanian in Italy, Andalusian in Spain, and Greek civilization. where she had the occasion to obtain mixed art culture. Lina has experimented with several mediums, such as pastels, and watercolour, but oils tend to be her most preferred. and she tried using many techniques to rich her art, such as the recycled materials to create a reliefs pictures, which was the technique she used in her first exhibition she released immediately after graduated in Russian culture center in Damascus. Then she worked several years with international advertising agencies as graphic designer. After a strong events took place suddenly, it is the war which forced million of Syrians to leave their beautiful safe country to escaped from death and starvation. in other hands other millions citizens decided to stay and protected their loved country from terrorist which gathered from all the world. Everyone serviced his country in his filed and Lina was one of those who decided to defends her country by her art, she wanted to send a message to all the world that Syria is still alive, and Syrians can create art in spite of the disastrous conditions, and she could release to successful exhibitions during the war, she has held several individual exhibitions inside and outside Syria, and she participated in several group exhibitions. Lina was drawing the natural, animals, portrait, but her most preferred it was the faces, because she find the real emotions in it, and she excelled in mixed between the faces, and between the colors of the people , she interested in humanitarian issues and she expressed that in a lot of her pictures, in her most preferred medium oil on canvas. An association of plastic artists was established in 2017, and was called by the Association of Candles of Peace, which is the president of the association. And then organized several group exhibitions inside and outside Syria.
First of all, I would like to ask you directly Mrs. Lina Irzek, who is the heart and the soul of this project? By whom were you inspired?
Thank you very much for your invitation Mrs. Kyropoulos and to offer to us the opportunity to speak about art and the human connectivity, especially during the pandemic period .It was a cooperation between me and our PR spokesperson, the artist Rafat Alshpaani.
Of course as the president of the organization I was the organizer and the coordinator for all the work details and there was a group of members of the organization helping me creating the invitations. There was also an international committee comprised of veteran artists who judged the submitted art and accepted or denied them and replaced them with different ones. The task for collecting coordinators from all over the world was done by our PR spokesperson.
As for the task of receiving the art work and distributing other tasks and controlling every aspect of the job was my personal duty. I was also in charge of sending out personal invitations to the artists to join our exhibition.
After the successive successes and the various activities provided by the Candles of Peace Association over successive years in which it made its own mark that it left in several places and governorates of Syria, inside and outside Syria. It is pleased to be the first and announces the launch of the Elixir exhibition from Damascus / Syria, with the participation of artists from all over the world, on February 18, 2021 … an important event that sees light on the Arab and international levels.
And since each of his names has a share, the Candles of Peace Association puts its mark again to focus on the sublime meanings in spreading the message of love, peace and creativity.
Because of the new Corona epidemic that prevented us from holding real-life exhibitions, we remained determined to continue our activities, and we launched the Elixir International Exhibition, which is an electronic exhibition for fine art and a global pla Peace Candles Association
Because of the new Corona epidemic that prevented us from holding real-life exhibitions, we remained determined to continue our activities, and we launched the Elixir International Exhibition, which is an electronic exhibition for fine art and a global platform for artistic creativity and a lush avenue where fine art artists meet and exchange experiences and artistic experiences through which the creators of the world shake hands under the banner of love, peace and creativity and fraternity.
What is your main goal?
Our main goal is to hold a great cultural event once again. We add to our achievements a new success documented by the best local and international artists to present the latest trends in contemporary art. Together to transform Damascus into a cultural reference point and a hot spot of contemporary international artistic activity.
The exhibition (Elixir) is to open the field and opportunity to artists, under their desire, and pushed forward by of official bodies and all connoisseurs of colors and painting, and it confirms that art is the elixir of life and the only substance that gives life its true flavor and colors.
Where the audience will be able to see works of a special character and a magical view subject to the upscale taste of the performance of these great artists on the stage of the Arab Cultural Center Theater in Kafarsouseh in the city of Damascus – Syria with a distinctive presentation on a huge screen within a distinctive artistic ceremony in which all kinds of arts of music, singing, poetry and folk dance meet To complement the arts with each other to produce a distinctive artwork, which is the Elixir International Exhibition.
We are pleased to have more than 1000 local and international artists present in Damascus as friends and followers, and to have with us a large group of countries that share this wonderful initiative from Arab countries (Algeria – Egypt – Lebanon – Jordan – Palestine – Morocco – Tunisia – Yemen – Kuwait) and various countries From around the world (Uruguay – Argentina – Bangladesh – Bosnia and Herzegovina – Serbia – Burundi – Colombia – Dominican – Ecuador – France – Greece – India – Uganda – Panama – Philippines – Ronda – El Salvador – Spain – Taiwan – Turkey – Venezuela – Switzerland – Zimbabwe – Cyprus Honduras).
We are pleased to be among the artists of the world who seek to hold international exhibitions because we believe that art is the bridge that unites the peoples of the world to love and peace … Art is the main motive for spreading Arab and international cultures among us. We will be on time to hold virtual and realistic international exhibitions whenever possible.
Many thanks to all the coordinators who contributed and helped in the coordination of the exhibition from their countries, with all respect and appreciation to all, and I thank everyone who made an effort to help in organizing the exhibition, and especially thanks to the public relations official at the Peace Candles Association, artist Rafat Al-Shabani, for his great efforts in coordination and the success of the exhibition and of course to the Greek Coordinator, Mrs. Irene Doura- Kavadia.
So what will happen today?
All the works of the participating artists from all over the world will be displayed on a large screen in a cinematic display in a distinguished ceremony that includes many poetic, musical and folk arts events.
The show continues for a week on social media, on the association’s pages and on websites. At the end of the show, Peace Candles Association provides a notarized diploma to all participating artists.
Why did you choose the Greek origin word Elixir? (“Elixirio” in Greek)?
Elixir or in English (Elixir) is that mythical substance that was and still is the obsession of those looking for wealth or those looking for immortality alike. The ancients always believed that if thrown on cheap metal, elixir would turn into gold. Also, the legendary drug guarantees eternal life to its drinker or eternal youth. And what in this life is more close to this concept of art and creativity? Wasn’t it the artists’ fingertips that turned paper and a few inexpensive colors into precious paintings whose value increases with the passage of time? Was it not creativity that made of the deaf stone a sculpture that almost uttered the intensity of its mastery after the artist had put in it all his feelings and feelings? Art is also the elixir of life that immortalized Da Vinci, Raphael, Angelo and many others whom art gave eternity in the consciousness of human civilization.
Why “NOW” during the pandemic is so important for humanity to resist through art? Is life stronger than pain?
Of course, it is a kind of resistance by means of art, because otherwise, life will stop completely, no kind of cultural activities will continue, and we will succumb to the Corona epidemic, and thus will eliminate all forms of life. Therefore, we must continue despite all circumstances.
What is the secret to a successful International Art Exhibition?
The family of the Candles of Peace Association extends its thanks to the artist, Raafat Al-Shabani, the Public Relations Officer at the association, for his contribution in organizing the International Elixir exhibition and coordinating it with curators from outside Syria.
All respect and appreciation to you, and a certificate of appreciation has been awarded to him as a token of thanks and loyalty.
Mrs. Nina Diakovasili – is a painter (graduate student of the ABC Ecole de Paris). Born in Kallithea, Attica in 1948. She has had 6 solo exhibitions. She has been awarded by the Philological Association “Parnassos” for her work “The Last Supper”, by the Association of Greek Writers for her contribution to the public and art, twice by the UNESCO TLEE Group, twice by the World Philosophical Forum (WPF), receiving a special honor as “Citizen of the World”. He has illustrated four children’s books. She has been distinguished as a member of the UNESCO TLEE Group for her hard work, generosity and ethos and these traits of character led her to the position of President that she holds until today.
Good evening Mr. Diakovasili. Thank you very much for this interview, really how did you feel when you were recommended to participate in the world exhibition with your “Olive”? (The specific painting, in which Mrs. Diakovasili participated).
Thank you very much, Mr. Kyropoulos, for the invitation, and I confess that I am always happy to participate, either online or in person, in the efforts of like-minded fellow human beings.
The work in the painting you selected depicts an olive tree. Do you want to talk to us a little about this painting? The colors, the dimensions, but also the materials you used?
It is a project that I love very much! It states through the grandeur of simplicity the secrets of its composition. Wood and oil 1.60x 1.40cm provoke or rather kindly invite the senses to explore with a new look, the greatest value of all, peace. They used to honour the Olympic Games winners with an olive wreath. The olive tree, this age-old tree has roots from antiquity to the present day. These roots need to be watered by our souls. Just as the body needs to meet its biological subsistence, so the soul seeks its nourishment in the human civilization. In the expression of emotions, which unfold aspects of the soul through the details of the whole. A painting, a sonnet, a poem, a dance routine are nothing but reflections on the biggest canvas that paint the moments with a brush of our wants in life itself.
Do you have a particular preference for a particular type of painting? What is your favorite topic?
I love the human body. The way muscles emerge through movements. The beauty that is based on them and sooner or later unfolds the aromas, the momentum, the pulse, the passion, the tensions, but also the serenity. From a young age I painted people, postures from Greek Mythology. Straight bodies, proud and with the strength of spirit, body and soul. I felt that I was witnessing small miracles, such as those that happen around us every day and we pass by them, because we take them for granted, sometimes as if they were even invisible.
What would you say to an Arab, Asian or Northern European artist about our country? How would you describe him / her?
What can one say about our country! Greece is the whole Universe of miracles gathered in one place. Every corner hides in its bowels a myth… I would take them to the turquoise waters of Simos Beach, to hold in their hands the blonde sand and to follow perfectly the pulse of their soul. To feel that they are permeated by this untold joy that so generously offers us the geographical relief of our homeland and to relax their soul. First and foremost, let the soul dive into the colours of the palette of nature and the hands to follow the holy dinner of the souls.
What would you advise a young artist, who is now discovering their artistic self?
To fight ethically through art. Not to become an epicurean of dreams in the face of an excessive ambition. Humility through work becomes the highlight in life. Always know what is right and what is wrong. Have the sensor of the internal barrier. The rules of virtue exist, as my mother used to tell me as a child. Art promotes morals. Be humble, but with dignity. Never say, I arrived, I became, I am. The course will show this. You took me back in time now and I remembered when I recently held a very honorary award (i.e. the Global Icon Award by WRITERS CAPITAL INTERNATIONAL FOUNDATION) and this childhood voice then continued inside me: “Well, did I the “mosquito or ant” get this award?”
Yes, but do not forget that the mosquito is a cold killer, in order to survive and the ant can lift 80 times its weight, being one of the strongest creatures on the planet. What does the participation of 20 artists in such a large international exhibition from many countries of the world and 1000 different artists signify for Greece?
It is within the element of Greece – because Greece is light born by light. This exchange of human culture, this counter-loan of partnership with the original identity and personality of each creator is the way to resist to anything difficult, ugly, colourless we experience. It is a kind of solidarity revolution with moral motives, the rapprochement of peoples in friendship. Let every kind of war strategies on the planet cease and let our earth be free to breathe. This is achieved through peace. Only in periods of peace and serenity can creation flourish and man evolve. I am grateful for the opportunity to participate and I want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to the organizers and especially to Ms. Lina Rizk rzek and her collaborators for all the beauty of this effort to get people in touch ways in the language of art.
A huge congratulations to the organizer of the Greek participation, Mrs. Irene Doura-Kavadia.
About Lena Kyropoulos II
Lena kyropoulos – has travelled to many neighbourhoods around the world, 53 countries to be exact, as a businesswoman, www.pitapasta.com and export executive. She has studied Physiotherapy but her big love is journalism. She works for our expatriate channel-media platform. in Toronto, Canada and www.bcimediainc.com and writes for the digital newspaper Aristeia: www.aristeia.online, as well as the Italian magazine www.scambimediterraneranei.eu. Recently, she started her collaboration with the President of the Journalists of Macedonia Thrace Mr. Fanis Papadopoulos and www.politispress.gr Together with her teams they created the show “PERSONALITIES” As a radio producer on the Greek Diaspora radio www.radiomelodia.gr shows with the Anastasios Chatzitheofanous, personalities all over the globe who can inspire people. She loves colourful people, tender souls, she loves refined tastes, travel and foreign languages – she speaks 4! In 2019 she comes out 8th in all the Balkans at Eurovision of Poetry, among 49 countries, and for 2020 she is the Ambassador of the Institution officially for Greece, which is supported by Forbes and UNESCO. 2020 she is the radio moderator on the radio show “PERSONALITIES ON AIR” with BCI MEDIA, ECSTACY RADIO, RADIO STRIMONICA AND MEDITERRANEAN TV IT. In 2020 she became the Ambassador for communication and personal development in Ecumenical Delphic Union. In 2020 she became also the councillor for World Writers foundation. Peace, solidarity and a non-violence world is her big vision