Interview: Niki Zahari
Luca Curci talks with Niki Zahari during THE BODY LANGUAGE 2020 at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi.
Born and raised in Piraeus where she still lives today. In 1991, she was admitted to the Athens Shool of Fine Arts. During her studies she took among other courses, Mosaic and Icon lessons. In 1997, she graduated with Excellence grade from the Art Department, Athens School of Fine Arts. The Athens School of Fine Arts granted her scholarship for each of the last four years of her studies (1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995) in recognition of her progress. In September of 2014 Niki graduated with Excellence grade from the 3rd Sculpture Workshop of Professor G. Houliara.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Niki Zahari – For me, Art is listening carefully to my deepest feelings. As an artist with vision, my works of art reflect the idea or the aesthetic of my experience. My work is based on the observation of the form, the perception and the emotional intelligence. For me, Art is experience.
LC – What are you currently working on?
NZ – I am a painter, a sculptor, a visual performer. I am accustomed to working with a lot of materials. I create objects that thereafter I use in my actions. As a painter, I place a great deal of importance on colour and form; on the canvas, I paint worlds, with which the viewer identifies. I work with the philosophy of teachers such as Nikos Kazantzakis who has been for me the constant source of inspiration. The more I work with the body, the more I learn about myself and my truth. And I give my own version of truth in response to the morals of our century.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
NZ – As a woman, my work involves the role of the woman – the mother – the artist; I carry the burden of these roles through the previous generations. With effort, I bring it to life by creating at the same time bright path to my conscience and individual freedom.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your works?
NZ – Any difficulties arise not from the conception but from the composition of all that I have to say in a short time (condensed concepts). I work with the woman as a woman, having always in my mind my mother and Greece, the country where I was born. My engagement in painting, sculpture and performance created more space for inspiration and creativity. Moving from one area of expertise to another, I leave my footsteps on my art and on what I create, feeling blessed with so many tools in my hands.
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
NZ – Nowadays, I believe that the artist has always been combative; he has always created in any circumstances. He has always offered parts of himself to his country, through the culture he has produced. I believe that the crisis our country has been going through has given artists not only opportunities but also difficulties in repositioning themselves, in speaking to their truth.
LC – What is the message linked to the artwork you have shown in this exhibition? How is it connected to the theme of the entire festival?
NZ – The message of my work of art is the female figure, helpless and protected at the same time. This action, “The Butterfly’s Flight” is inspired by the award-winning writer Nikos Kazantzakis’ book “Zorbas the Greek”. In this book, he states: “It is a deadly sin to break the eternal laws. You have the duty to follow the immortal rhythm”. The gynecological chair (BOOM) I found, it’s old; it has its own memories, its own history. I used it as an object for the performance. The woman, like the butterfly, is protected in her own cocoon until the time comes to break it and get out to the freedom. The message can be provocative but it has many meanings. Like a bird that gets out of its egg, so the man also comes to life earning his freedom. Wearing this plaster suit (which I made by myself), I break it slowly, slowly to free ME – it’s the process of creation and emotion. I balance between art and reality. This is linked to the The Body Language exhibition as it is stated in the title “The Body Language”.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
NZ – Of course I agree with your point of view. That’s why I sent my participation. Many artists are given the opportunity to develop and show their work through the team ITSLIQUID so as to communicate their message to the world.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP? Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
NZ – Thank you for the opportunity you gave me, I am thankful that you accepted me at Palazzo Ca’ Zanardi. I would be also delighted to be part of it again. Special thanks to Julia Sysalova (art curator) for her comments about my performance “The Flight of the Butterfly” and Angelos Antonaropoulos for his suggestions about ITSLIQUID.