The final episode of Athens Unpacked.
Despite the devastating financial crisis, the arts continued to flourish in Athens during the second decade of the 21st century. From wealthy benefactors creating impressive cultural centres to street artists and buskers improving the quality of life in the city centre, high and low cultures co-exist and nourish each other.
Sofka visits the Niarchos cultural centre and talks with magazine publisher Sudha Nair Iliades about big benefactors. Shipping magnates Aristotle Onassis and Stavros Niarchos were rivals in love; their foundations now compete over their cultural legacies. (Photo: Lara Papadimitriou).
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre, home to the Greek National Opera and National Library of Greece.
Onassis “Stegi” cultural foundation. “The place where contemporary culture meets aesthetics and science”.
British cellist Chris Humphrys joined the ‘Camerata’ or Armonia Atenea orchestra when it was founded 30 years ago for the astonishing Megaron Athens Concert Hall – Megaro Mousikis. He discusses classical music and plays us Bach in a park.
We walk around the lively neighbourhood of Psirri and seek out street art with George Papam (Papamattheakis) – a former street artist and urban geographer. Seen here with the mural of Loukanikos (“Sausage”), known affectionately as “Riot Dog” for his love of street protests. (Photo: Lara Papadimitriou).
Inspired by Dürer’s Praying Hands, this mural near Omonia was painted during the economic crisis.
Amongst the remarkable cultural events during the financial crisis in 2017, was the massive, German-run Documenta 14 arts festival, usually held in Kassel. Amongst the participants was my father, Peter Zinovieff, whose piece of electronic music based on whale sounds was performed (and curated by Andrew Spyrou). My father was still alive and busy working when I made the podcast, but “South Pacific Migration Party” has just been released as a clear vinyl, the month after his death in June 2021. See review below.
Part of a review of South Pacific Migration Party by Peter Zinovieff in the Financial Times.
We dance our way out with Balkan brass band Agia Fanfara and their intoxicating street music.
We tried to avoid the tourist clichés in Athens Unpacked and didn’t even go up the Acropolis or visit the astounding Acropolis Museum. To say goodbye to the series here’s a photograph taken up on the “Sacred Rock” by my daughter and assistant producer on the podcast series, Lara Papadimitriou.