flier VICKY YIANNOYTSOSPersephone’s Plight – The Four Seasons of Migration.
Birth, Separation, Yearning, Return
Ionion Center for Arts and Culture – Kefalonia. September, 2012.
“Persephone’s Plight” is a multi-media installation with multiple film and video images drawn form over 20 years of filming between New Zealand and Greece.
Artists Vicky Yiannoutsos comments “’Persephone’s Plight’ is a new chapter in a body of work, which has been in progress all my life, where I continue to chose the moving image to express the complexity, confusion, richness and joy that comes from living between cultures”.
Since first visiting Greece as a young girl, Vicky has identified the myth of Demeter and Persephone as a metaphor for the migrant experience. This has underpinned her work, resulting in the shooting of the documentary “Visible Passage”, the beginning of its follow-up work “Scattered Seeds”, the feature film script ‘Kore”, as well as many stories, poetry, journals and letters. Translations have begun on the diaries kept by her father since his arrival in New Zealand, as well as letters between him and relatives, in Greece.
In classical terms, the myth embodies the cycles of the seasons-the phases of birth, death, their activity, their dormancy and the regenerative phases of their eternal cycle. For this artist, it is a metaphor for the 20th century migrant experience as expressed through the quartets of birth, Separation, Yearning, Return.
Like Persephone, abducted by Hades to the Underworld where she yearns to return to her mother, the migrant is abducted by the New World. Separated across the water, she and her mother yearn for each other. But, once Persephone eats the fruits of the Under world, she is irreversibly changed, as is the migrant when she partakes of the fruits of the New world. Though the Homeland calls, she can never permanently return – rather, she is destined to journey between worlds, and, like her mother, is trapped in yearning.
The generations that follow – the new seeds – inherit this yearning – this love of a distant culture – through music, language, food, dance and stories.
The exhibition was first mounted in Auckland, New Zealand, in July 2010. Nicolas Greanias (United States Consul in New Zealand) who attended opening night, described the work by “a serious artist with a strong vision”.
This month the exhibition will have its first ‘return home’ viewing at the Ionian Centre for Arts and Culture on Kefalonia, Greece. This is a long-time dream for the artist, who is delighted that the work has been ‘called back’ to Ionian waters, as most of the Greek filming was done on the nearby island of Kastos, her fathers’ birthplace.
“ I carry two cultures, two languages, two worlds.
I belong to both. I belong to neither.
I am Persephone, destined forever to journey between them”