NEW YORK – Jewelry artists from Greece and the United States – 21 in all – unite in one exhibition with unique works inspired by past and present remnants of revolutions across the globe. A History of Revolutions, organized by the Ilias Lalaounis Jewelry Museum (ILJM), runs at the Consulate General of Greece in New York, 69 East 79th Street, during New York City Jewelry Week with opening day on Wednesday, November 15. A Director’s Tour is scheduled for Thursday, November 16, and an Awareness Day on Friday, November 17.
The ILJM is a hub for preserving traditional crafts and promoting new jewelry making. This venture ensures not only the collaboration among the Museum with academic organizations and artists in the U.S., but also allows for further developing the educational programs running in Athens for the American community.
Participating artists- Greek Studio Jewelers: Maria Apostolopoulou – Nikos Karakostas, Sophia Bahlava – Vasilis Stamoulis, Dolly Boucoyannis, Tassa-Theoharis Ganidou, Tasos Haidemenakis, Maria Koutmani, Maria Lalaouni, Nicole Polentas, Niki Stylianou, Yannis Tsalapatis, Yiota Vogli, Elli Xippa, and Sofia Zarari.
USA Studio Jewelers: Mara Colecchia, Rebecca Hannon, Ayala Naphtali, Carolanne Patterson, Debra Rapoport, Amanda Stumpf, Demitra Thomloudis, Heather White, and Marilyn Yakumithis
The exhibition also includes the special participation of the Public Vocational Training Institute of Nea Smyrni.
Artists were called to respond to their personal inner search for artistic expression inspired from either the GreekRevolution of 1821, or other revolutions that applied to their experience as citizens of a modern society.
From the 1821 Revolution to the Industrial Revolution, the social media spin, participating creators focus on interpreting understandings of nationhood, tradition, gender, and body to critically center the past with the contemporary moment. Both USA and Greek nationals, inspired by historic artifacts, events or contemporary social issues follow an imaginative journey through history and tradition. Jewelry becomes the vehicle of material extension to consciously respond to, protest and express dimensions of the individuals, from two exceptional societies.
Forms, Materials and Techniques
Artists elaborate on traditional forms of jewelry to express their art. In this exhibition works demonstrate innovation with the choice of unusual materials, techniques, and forms. Large pins and neckpieces, polymorphic body jewelry, vests, belts, and small objects are only a few examples. Materials such as paper, textiles, clay, wood, leather, dried fruit, embroidery threads, silk fabrics and even family heirlooms from family chests were applied for the desired result. Artists follow very diverse paths governed by their experiences, adding artistic value to the whole of their composition.
A study for two jewels
Examples that draw their inspiration from historic events or artifacts unveil jewelry with a soul. Sofia Bahlava and Vasilis Stamoulis based in Lamia, Greece, studied a yataghan sword, manufactured in 1808 which belonged to the Greek fighter Athanasios Themelis. The sword is decorated with an inscription that reads ‘In the One That I Hope’. The artists replace the traditional materials with textile in multiple layers to express their inner thoughts about functional objects that are reformed.
Amanda Stumpf, based in Pittsburgh, PA, is inspired by two politically charged events in the U.S. Both the Boston Tea Party and the practice known as gerrymandering, become carriers of her recent work, inviting the viewer to a deeper understanding of how political power can be abused resulting in the absence of true democracy. Her work highlights the impact of artistic jewelry as a result of social evolution and critical thought.
The exhibition promotes international educational ventures and the recent work of artists that collaborate with the ILJM. The goal is to ensure that new jewelry will be fostered as a decorative art ensuring its place in the historical context it deserves for generations to come.
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