I am an Artist and I paint what is true to my Soul. One of my main passions is to paint Indigenous Tribes and discover the wonders and magical places on the planet. Art for me is my truth, my religion, my identity, my purpose and my hope. It opens my mind heals my heart, fuels my body and frees my soul. It inspires me to heal to touch, to give and to love. Better yet, my work communicates to the human race what I have learnt along the way.
Greek City Times speaks to Greek artist Eleni Ibrahim about her magical creative process, her amazing and soulful connection to her heritage and how a trip to Santorini in 2019 inspired her in the most unexpected way.
Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed, Eleni! Tell our GCT readers a little about yourself and your artwork?
My name is Helen Andronis Ibrahim and my artwork is ELENI, after my grandmother.
I was born in 1976 here in Melbourne, Australia. My older brothers were born in Greece. My parents are from the mainland.
My Dad Nicholas Andronis is from Potamoula, Agrinio and my Mum Athina is from Chrisotholi, Pogoniou, Ioannina. They made their way here to Melbourne, Australia in 1966 and decided to stay.
I travelled to Greece in 2019 for the fourth time. This time with my husband and my two daughters for a holiday… thinking I would come back inspired to paint a beautiful Greek Goddess but I came back with something quite special and unexpected.
I was in Oia, Santorini just standing there watching the most incredible view. I’ve been there once before, but this time was different.
I remember not being able to look away. I remember feeling like I’d been transported to another place… another dimension… another world.
When my art comes through me it comes through my heart first then my mind.
I get lost in visual images and I feel tingles throughout my body… it’s a little like someone sprinkling magic dust all over me.
It happens quite quickly and the feeling is intense so at this point I couldn’t move or look away.
I remember telling my husband I’m going to paint the eye… and I’m going to name it The Eye of Hellenica.
The words of poetry flowed through me and I repeated them so many times, So I wouldn’t forget.
“Where the land meets the sea
As far as the EYE can see
There is another World
A World full of…
Guidance, Protection & Wonder
There is HELLENICA
The land of the FREE!”
When I got back home I entered my workspace I have to say I was pretty nervous. I wasn’t sure if I could pull it off, or was it ever going to be good enough. (A natural process I go through when I paint.)
When the painting was done… I placed my paintbrush down and I have to say I couldn’t be more proud to be Greek.
A few days past and my brother asked me why I named it The Eye of Hellenica.
I wasn’t too sure why, and at the time my answer was I combined my two names! Who knows?
He wasn’t so convinced so he did a little research and came back with this:
“The Hellenistic Age…” 🇬🇷
What part of Greece are you from and what is your favourite Greek food?
My favourite Greek food is hands down my dads’ barbecue, grilled fish, fresh lemon oil and oregano.. souvlaki, saganaki, my mums Greek salad and her melomakarona. YUM!
Take us through the creative process when it comes to designing and creating your work?
The best part of my creative process is to TRUST!
Trust that I’m on the right track.
Trust that whatever the gift is, it has come from the Divine and I’m there to bring it through as art.
To trust whatever the outcome, this work has touched my soul in a way that I can never really put into words.
And I only hope it has done the same for others.
What part of creating artwork appeals to you the most?
The freedom I feel every time I complete a project. Everything just makes sense.
It is like my puzzle just pieces itself together.
This is the confirmation I need to know I’m on the right track.
I never research any of my work, I just go with the strokes.
My job is to be clear-minded, paint and trust.
I love when this happens after I have finished my work. It happens every time! Freedom!
What has been the highlight of your creative career so far?
In 2014 I was fortunate enough to have my artwork digitally displayed on an entire 25 story building in Times Square New York City.
This achievement turned my life around from being a full-time hairdresser of 24 years to an artist overnight!
This was a hard choice to make as the art world is not an easy world to be in.
But, I very quickly realised this is who I am and what my souls is here to do.
What do you think sets you apart from other artists?
My work is quite spiritual and the full story is never told, only felt within the artwork itself.
What’s your favourite piece of artwork that you’ve created so far?
I don’t have a favourite piece because every piece of art I create is unique with its own story and soul journey.
You spoke earlier about the inspiration and the creative process behind your incredible piece “The Eye of the Hellenica”. What exactly about this piece is so special?
The ‘Eye’ wasn’t just for me. The ‘Eye’ is supposed to take you back to the motherland, so to speak.
It was created to take me back to my roots.
My history, the place where I come from and where I belong. A place I see myself painting and having a gallery one day. This piece belongs in Greece… So maybe one day it will find its way there.
Greece is a place where the freedom I felt and feel every time I’m there is a feeling many people of all cultures feel when they enter my gallery see the eye and have themselves been to Greece.
This piece is my way of giving back to the land and the people.
It is my way of saying “thank you” for the inspiration the love, hospitality and generosity that I receive every time my feet are on Greek soil.
It is my gift to the Greek culture and people.
The land of Hellenica, this one is for you.
Hope I’ve done you proud!
I have always believed we all have a little Greek in us.
I am honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to immerse myself in my Artwork and reconnect to our Mother Earth.
She teaches us about the world we share and how to live in balance with one another.
Her natural beauty is the key to unlocking an incredible part of what already exists within our hearts and of her land.
The use of natural materials brings me closer to understanding Her and myself. The materials themselves are filled with endless information and incredible knowledge.
They bring us back to us.
To what we already know!!!
I am very blessed to live in a beautiful part of the world, Byron Bay a magical place that inspires me to create magical pieces.
My LOVE is to paint stories.
My journey to this date has been a story of hope, forgiveness, the power of the land, a connection between cultures with the courage to create Peace on Earth.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
My dream is to continue creating with passion, love…. And spirit.
TRUTH IS WHAT I PAINT AND ART IS WHO I AM… I AM ELENI
Ζήτω η Ελλάδα! Ζήτω η Ελευθερία!
Website: Eleni Art Gallery Byron Bay