«…συνηθισμένοι εις τον θεληματικόν κόπον μιας ησύχου ζωής, ανυπόδουλοι, εξ αρχής της κατοικήσεως των εις εκείνα τα υψηλά βουνά – έχουν ευτυχείς μακρά από την πολυτέλειαν και κακοήθειαν των διεφθαρμένων πολιτειών, ανδρείοι ως ελεύθεροι, φιλόξενοι ως Έλληνες…»
There is no need to say much about this kind of post. I think I said more than enough in my first, very enthousiastic «The Who in The Where» 4 years ago. The focus again is on people, our people or the people who visit Ikaria but who somehow seem to have always belonged there. Or is it that our mysterious but so peaceful island has always belonged to them? I don’t know… I only know that I am missing it. I hope that as usual I will return in winter. Meanwhile, go ahead and look through my choice of new pictures of beautiful, meaningful human figures and faces from the summer months as well as the winter in Ikaria. Some of them I know, some others I don’t but I am proud of them all! These people are my next of kin. And though I writing this in a grey overheated city while wearing an uncomfortable formal suit, my heart is with them! I hope you like them too!
All images open directly on the bloggers’ or photographers’ own spaces and it goes without saying that they are copyrighted. Special thanks to © angeloska, © Ορειβατικός Σύλλογος Ικαρίας and © egotoagrimi
Closing this let me add that there are more shots but that’s not «The Who in The Where» – that’s …
Dear readers, hoping that you are familiar with my idea of presenting selected material about Ikaria loaded on the internet by bloggers, photographers and writers, I am proudly presenting to you today in an interesting collation the works of two women photographers, Kerstin Hehmann from Germany and Isabelle Gressier from France. Unlike Zdeněk Senkyrik from my previous entry, whose photos are carefully set with an emphasis on landscapes, Kerstin and Isabelle come with ‘snapshots‘, the one of happy people who dance in various summer festivals and the other of silent buildings, isolated or deserted houses in wintry landscapes. It was my fancy to put Kerstin and Isabelle’s very dissimilar photos side by side in this entry. I wanted to make a point and I am very satisfied of the result. I hope that you too, my dear readers, after a little bit of thought, will be able to see the connection.
Dear readers, you haven’t grasped the connection yet? Here’s another dozen of collated shots 😳
Does this picture by Kerstin of a valley lost in the mountains which doesn’t see a living soul for months and suddenly it’s stuffed with cars and people for no apparent reason, help you understand? I suppose not 😳
Dear readers, this is stuff to talk about for hours and maybe also make a book of. It’s our beloved ikarian enigma and I won’t bother you with it anymore. But before I let off, allow me to suggest to you to read the following parts of an interview by Nikos Dayandas, the maker of «Little Land», about his experiences in Ikaria. Our friend Elina found it, chose the best parts and added them in a comment under my entry about this great documentary. Here they are translated in English. This interview does not solve the riddle of «The Two Sides», yet it’s a few steps to the right direction. It’s one of the best and shortest descriptions that I have ever heard or read about life on our island.
That’s all from me for now, goodbye. The micro goes to Nikos
«Going there I realized that the island was full of young people who were indeed non-Ikarians or they were Ikarians who hadn’t been born or lived in Ikaria.»
«There is no local who doesn’t do two or three jobs at the same time; from a little garden near his or her house to the beehives at some distant hillside; from a sour cherry orchard in a field to the sheepfold in some place near.»
«It’s given that they work very hard. They just have this particularity that they do everything in their own time, everyone in his own clearly personal understanding of when is the right moment to do something.»
«When you are there, you do get the feeling that things really are a bit slower. You are surrounded by a strange calmness, everything is peaceful, the people are mild too. In Crete, for example, Cretans are intense characters. Cretan music is fast, their drinks are very strong. The Ikarian culture on the other hand is different, milder. It’s the sound of the little violin, their dance is a slow circular dance, they add water to their wine…»
«When you arrive there, your first impression is, first of all, the nature and its wildness. You see right away that the place hasn’t been developed.»
«You, know, because I have studied archeology, the Ikarians in many aspects remind to me of the Ionian civilization, they have almost ancient Greek tendencies. Everything they do, their pace and their activities are «all in good measure«. Or like a granny says in the film, life goes like a circle from good to bad and back again. This is, let’s say, the Heraclitean «everything flows«. The way they see things is founded on some basic ideas which are deeply rooted in Greek philosophy, even though they aren’t themselves necessarily aware of the fact.»
and the best (according to Elina and of course I agree!)
« … Ikarians also had another particularity in their society. The island has always had a liking to Communism and because the local communists had a very hard time with persecussions and exiles, after democracy was restored in 1974 the people started to reward them with mayoral posts. This is the political dimension of the mysticism of the place. So for several decades you had KKE partisans fixed in public posts through which European Union funding came and every time they said: «Leave it. We won’t take it!» They wrote all that on their balls, something that may have seemed criminal at that time, however today you can say that they may have been saved exactly because of that. Because it’s a place that hasn’t changed.»
This was worked in a team of friends, and a team of friends was accordingly chosen to feature as an introductory image. Now that it’s raining over the island and the frenzy over the gardens and the olives has stopped for a while, we found the time to compose a small gallery of beautiful, meaningful faces from the summer months as well as the winter. It was time we got over the shyness. The wild landscapes are thrilling but let’s show some people too -and from as close as possible. After all, Ikaria is, was and will be *an inhabited land*. In spite of its ruggedness and lack of resources, for reasons that are of the moment to discuss, the island is always and ever
settled and re-settled
colonized and re-colonized
visited and re-visited
beloved and re-loved
acted and re-acted
What do these faces have in common? What do their eyes say? I am afraid I can’t tell you. Perhaps I am too close to the subject to be able to express an opinion. And the others of the team weren’t any help either. While choosing photos we ended up telling stories and gossiping. So no deep cool thoughts; only deep warm eyes; and smiles.
But because I am Eleni and I must absolutely make a pondering statement :), I will quote the words of our friend Nana who always drops the wisest cues. While looking through the material, she said:
This is us. If it is to starve and die, we’d rather starve and die by ourselves than starve and die with someone else’s help.
If you ever visit our island, you may have the chance to understand what she meant.
All images blogged here, open directly on the photographers’ own spaces in Flickr and they are copyrighted. These photographers are © angeloska © andzer © Apollonios © Γκαέλ © egotoagrimi © electron just © Gin Chil © isl_gr © karstalipp © Karl Hauser © 2Lauran © leon_eye © mac13 © manuel’s photos © mountain ash © nicote © Thalia Nouarou © themis_ioanna © ikarianlad
but there are portraits by others as well. I hope that you like the choice. Doesn’t it all, though so different, meet the professional? The material we have browsed was easily found in Flickr, filed in «Ikaria + portrait«, «Ikaria + face«, «Ikaria + girl«, «Ikaria + boy« etc. leaving out, needless to say, souvenir shots taken by tourists and showing tourists. The faces in our collection are endemic or claiming endemicity.
As we were editing, somebody in the team said that we should later also upload a gallery of hands. His motive was two up-to-the point comments in this blog. I also thought it’s a great idea. Hands too have a lot to say about our identity.
How nice and *aerated* it is in the island!
Another winter has started.
p.s. Unless something exceptional appears, there are no blog reviews for the time being. Winter is no good for