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On 20 January the iconic Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church and National Shrine at the World Trade Center in New York will host the opening of a dramatic art exhibition - All You Need Is Greece in New York - by the Greek-German conceptual artist and designer Caroline Rovithi.

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The show will feature spectacular works by an artist who loves creating bright and graphic pop art-inspired works of art showcasing the eternal beauty, spirit and strength of Hellenism.

Caroline Rovithi's works "All you need is Greece in New York" recently enjoyed a successful run at the Opening Gallery in Tribeca, New York, at an exhibition hosted by Greece in USA, an organisation promoting contemporary and ancient Greek culture abroad, and also held under the auspices of the Greek National Tourist Organisation (GNTO) and the Greek Ministry of Culture. Prior to that the young artist took part in an exhibition organized by the Hellenic Initiative in New York.

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The artist with the Consul General of Greece in New York, Dinos Konstantinou (credit: iefimerida.g)
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Exhibition at the Opening Gallery in Tribeca (credit: iefimerida.gr)

"All you need is Greece" is also the title of Caroline Rovithi's recently-published book published with the support of the GTNO, featuring a collection of works that capture the essence of Hellas, including iconic symbols that, according to the artist, bridge history with the modern era, blending Greece’s heroic past with bright colors and contemporary imagery.

In the preface to the book, the President of GTNO, Angela Gerekou, wrote:

“It is with great pleasure that I express my appreciation for the creator of All You Need Is Greece …I met the Greek artist Caroline Rovithi recently but was closely following her work with admiration. Through her creations I feel her love for Greece! With her magical touch she conveys beautiful messages for our country. With Caroline we share something in common... Greece is our greatest inspiration. We draw strength from its history, its light, its sea, its aura and from everything it represents and offers so open-handedly. I hope that through these pages you will feel and dream the blues of the sea and sky, the blue hues of our Greece, and enjoy the artist’s imaginative creations as you embark on an unforgettable and unique journey!"

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All you need is Greece .. and vivacious ambassadors of Hellenism: the artist and Angela Gerekou (credit: Caroline Rovithi)

The book, as the artist told New Greek TV, is to promote Hellenism and the love for Greece worldwide, with the use of iconic symbols accompanied by inspirational texts:

“Greece is a work of art, a masterpiece that I am blessed and privileged to experience every day. It is an ideal place in every sense. This country has everything! Beauty, colour, history, culture, people, feeling, soul. The message that I want to convey is simple and I believe in it wholeheartedly… All you need is Greece!”

Caroline's works, in her own words, are unpredictable, restless and emotional and try to capture the essence of Hellenism through good times and bad.  Greece is an endless "blue horizon", a masterpiece which the artist states that she is blessed and privileged to experience every day.

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Her works also capture defining moments of history, such as Melina Mercouri’s clarion call for the return of the Parthenon Sculptures:

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Or a pop cultural metaphor borrowing from Cavafy:

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When Greece was in the throes of its financial crisis, Caroline painted the “Crying Greek Flag,” with the national flag’s iconic blue and white stripes weeping.  In the artist's mind, she wanted to show the flag standing strong and proud, despite the pain and tears, along with the strength and resolve of the Greek people.

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"Crying Greek Flag" (credit: Athens Riviera Journal)

In 2022 Caroline Rovithi climbed the highest peak in Greece, Mt. Olympus, to paint “HELLAS the power within us”.

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She also recorded her artistic ascent in a short and inspiring video clip:

And, for good measure, she wrote this stirring poem:

On this sacred land
this blessed land
you will become one with the light
you will sense the energy
the love
the longing to listen to nature
the need to remember tradition
to be inspired by history.

Here you will feel the Hellenic Spirit
the one that beats in your heart,
the one that is absolutely free

The one that elevates you to the highest summit
and there will you achieve the incredible.

The one that gives birth to Hellas inside you.

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All You Need is Greece - New York (credit: newgreektv)

The upcoming event at the site of the old World Trade Center will also include a live performance with artwork to be created on the day which will be inspired by the stunning Byzantine iconography and defining characteristics of Saint Nicholas Church and the National Shrine at Ground Zero.

The significance of showcasing her “All you need is Greece” collection in New York is not lost on the young artist. According to Caroline:

“I aim to translate the atmosphere, culture, and history of Greece into visual metaphors that instantly bring the country to mind. My artworks are based on events and symbols that are in the forefront of Greek consciousness, some especially are combining cultural components that constitute the relationship between Greece and New York.”

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Examples of New York-related artworks include the “Filoxenia, NY coffee cup,”  the “Aygolemono” soup can inspired by Andy Warhol’s iconic “Campbell Soup,” and the Greek version of the iconic "I Love NY" logo,” an artwork created especially for the exhibition.

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Caroline Rovithi hopes to hold more exhibitions internationally, in the USA, Canada and Australia, with a burning desire to inspire people through her art  to create a meaningful and emotional connection with Greece.

After all, all you really need is Greece.

 

George Vardas is the Arts and Culture Editor.  

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