2021 is sure to be a significant year for Greeks and the diaspora worldwide.
This year marks the 200th anniversary of the Greek Revolution of 1821.
During this time, we honour our heritage and history and remember the challenges our ancestors faced and overcame in 1821. To continue cherishing their memory and story, we must preserve our cultural identity and traditions.
A hybrid print and digital publication, Portes Magazine is an expression of fine Greek ideals and aesthetics, a collection of stories and images that reflect a passion for Greece.
Created by an international group of researchers, writers, artists and photographers to whom Greece is a muse, the magazine is curated by editor Anthe Mitrakos, who spoke to Greek City Times about the magazine’s latest issue.
What can we find in the latest issue?
The 2021 issue celebrates the passionate revolution of 1821, and interesting things that were happening around that time.
For instance, we feature a beautiful dedication to the Flora Graeca, a truly remarkable, illustrated scientific book of botany, and the result of a young Englishman’s journeys through the rich natural world of Greece. In this issue, we also tell the story of how Bavarian royalty influenced the national dress of Greece, and showcase a collection of intricately illustrated traditional attire belonging to various regions of Greece, a tribute project spearheaded by art collector Antonis Benakis in the 1930s.
Other pieces focus on American Philhellenism and artwork of the Hellenic Revolution, as well as words by Lord Byron.
A story I very much enjoyed working on was our interview with renowned photographer Robert McCabe, whose black and white photos of a simpler Greece of the 1950s and 60s I adore. Several of his books are in my collection.
It is truly an honour for me to serve as editor of this tribute publication, this space which houses the stories and images expressing a passion for Greece. Aside from discovering interesting pieces of history and culture, my wish is for Portes readers to find something that inspires them either to dig deeper into a story, perhaps travel, or create something. Culture is a gift!
How do you decide on the content that is featured in Portes?
It all starts with inspiration. There will be an idea that crosses my mind, or a piece of art that I see. I will research about it, and the rest, as they say, is history. Every story that makes it into Portes highlights a noteworthy endeavour undertaken by passionate individuals to whom Greece is a muse.
Print is becoming a rarer choice of publishing. Why did you decide to publish in print?
Print and digital publishing both have their merits. While a digital publication can be updated in real-time and reach an international audience instantly, print offers an entirely different experience.
Something about the feel of the paper, flipping through images and stories away from a screen, even the smell of the ink…make it a more elevated experience. Others have described the publication as a piece of art that embellishes their home. This brings me joy.
Our annual collector’s edition is printed in Greece… a true “made in Greece” product we very much anticipate this summer.
What influenced you to become a supporter of culture and the arts through Portes?
I have been interested in history, culture, the arts and design in one way or another as far back as I can remember, though officially, I studied journalism, marketing and management.
I suppose it is a combination of the Hellenic aesthetic and way of thinking, and the natural beauty of Greece, which attracts certain people to this culture whether they are of Hellenic descent or not.
Undoubtedly, it is Hellenic culture itself which has inspired me. My background in journalism and interest in design surely explains the reason I chose a magazine as the channel by which I share this inspiration with others.
Beyond supporting the arts and culture, Portes Magazine also supports education. Tell us about that.
Lifelong learning is a key value of our heritage, and I am pleased we partner with the National Hellenic Student Association of North America (NHSA) to fundraise for annual academic scholarships awarded to students of Hellenic descent pursuing higher education. Subscriptions to our numbered, limited edition print issues support this effort.
How has Portes evolved as a publication over time, and what are some things you have learned being at the helm for so many years?
The magazine has been around for almost a decade now, and it’s fun to look back and see how it has evolved and blossomed into the more refined “piece of art” it is today. And for that, I credit inspiration derived from Hellenic ideals and aesthetics, ones combining simplicity with more complex sophistication.