Greek mythology as a permanent source of inspiration

by Marietta de Bruïne


Amsterdam, January 2015

The Greek drama is taking place right now, almost a third of the young do not have a job, many people live hard lives.
Their hardships  can be connected to the suffering that heroes from the great Greek stories underwent.
Our contemporary dramas both in world politics as in our personal lives resemble those tragedies described in the great Greek theater.

We lose a loved one, we encounter unfaithfulness, we are in warlike situations due to real war or we seem to be in a battle to keep our health or sanity and all of us cope with these things in different ways. All these themes are expressed in the great Greek myths.

Every Greek is steeped in her or his heritage as I know from having travelled many times in Greece.
For the artists of this show their Greek background is a focal point that one can always go back to.
In the jewelry and other art, made by the exhibiting artists the Greek myth has been an enormous rich well to draw from as you will see.

Munich, March 2015

In the old days women in Greece but also in the rest of the world came together, working on a quilt, a wedding gown or an outfit for a funeral, in the meantime listening to each others stories and to stories that were part of the heritage of the group.
With the sewing/weaving/ or knitting the personal stories became part of the process of making the material and making these  sessions social gatherings of great importance to a community.

As we see in the artworks the stories are still inspiring and can even be a binding factor for a contemporary community.
Some of the art on show will be made during meetings where women, and sometimes also men, work together making either small, individual pieces of jewelry, or working together on one big table cloth, a flag or wall hanging, while the guiding principle of the work will be the telling of a Greek myth.
It can be Medea, or the story of Oidipous, or Iphigenia.

The people working together do not have to be artists, as long as they will participate in the listening and crafting they are makers of the final artwork.
The myth will be told by whomever feels she or he wants to tell a part of it. Personal stories, that relate to the myth can be interwoven into the story/myth telling as well.
And all the time while the story is related, the people taking part in these gatherings work simultaneously with heir hands, either embroidering, or knitting or weaving and the people do become part of the story forming a close knit group.

This is a very modern, contemporary and one might even add democratic way of making art.
A novel way to make art again a part of a greater part of our society.


Marietta de Bruïne lectures at the University of Amsterdam since 1998. She also advises Triodos Bank, a green bank about the art  they acquire for their offices.
She is widely interested in Painting Sculpture and the applied arts. Ethnographic art is also a great passion of her but her focus is on contemporary art.
Furthermore she sculpts in her spare time and does also organizes  cultural trips throughout Europe.


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