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Greeks and their love for the sea

Published on 10/07/16 in Reading

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Greeks and their love for the sea

Μy first reaction, when I entered the exhibition hall of the Panayotis and Effie Michelis Foundation  was a spontaneous oh! Like the sensation I have when I travel and, at a turn of the road, face an unexpectedly beautiful landscape. The beauty of this space was the space itself:  plain, serene and perfectly arranged to send my gaze directly to the paintings.

The next seduction was the paintings themselves of naïve Art. It awakened inside me the innocence of my childhood, like when I was listening to fairy tales and opened my eyes to what was easy to comprehend. Shapes in front of me were the words and colours were the feelings that wrapped them.

I stopped at two paintings by the talented Rouli Boua and I kindly asked to photograph them in order to convey to you the deep relationship we, Greeks, have with the sea. The sea is within us as we see it surrounding us from the time that we are born.

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Life at the sea is thoroughly present in Greek literature, where tales about sailors, storms, and the life of the islanders stimulate our imagination. The sea brings wealth, but also death - the wrecks. The title ‘Nostos’, that the painter named her painting, is an ancient Greek word used also in the modern Greek language which means "the return to the homeland", and it is also used in English with the noun nostalgia and the adjective nostalgic. The seafarer returns to his island and narrates all the wonderful things he has seen in the world.  This is why the islanders were people with an open mind in contrast to the mountaineers who, not having this cosmopolitan influence, were enclosed in their small community.

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In the painting entitled ‘Anticipation’ we see women waiting for the ship that will bring back their husbands from their distant journey. From their attitude, expressed through the sensitivity of the painter, we can imagine their feelings. It could also be that they wait for a letter which sometimes would bring them the bad news:  the death of their beloved husband or son. At the time when there were no telephones, telegraphs or the internet,  ships were the messengers and, when the islanders heard their horn as a signal of their entrance into the harbour, they ran to the pier to receive news from the outside world.

Greeks love for the sea Today the Aegean is one of the most beautiful tourist attractions in the world, but in the beginning and shortly after the mid-20th century it was exclusively in the hearts of its islanders. Certainly, times have changed and now its winds blow to the yachtsmen that sail it, its ancient significance, the one that was sung by Homer. 

The e-book Cruising on the Ocean Majesty, illustrated with colour images, is available on:

CRUISE OF THE OCEAN MAJESTY English small Amazon Kindle:

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YouTube "Cruising on the OCEAN MAJESTY" book video:




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