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Book onto an Open Day

Graffiti from Greece’s austerity protests exhibited at University of Chichester

Graffito by STMTS [Stamatis Mitsios}; photograph by R J Ellis, Exarchia, July 2014

GRAFFITI from the streets of Greece painted during the violent protests against austerity has been brought to the University of Chichester for a world-first exhibition.

On the Streets of Athens: Art, Protest, Political Crisis explores the use of street art as a means of political dissent, international solidarity, and support for refugees. The showcase, at the Otter Gallery in Chichester, is based on the observations of its two curators, Professors Dick Ellis and Hugo Frey of the University, who visited the capital city from 2010 onwards to document the artwork and talk to residents.

Professor Ellis said: “The streets of Athens became a palimpsest of overlaid, interrelated graffiti. This exhibition seeks to reflect this breath-taking complexity, as austerity-gripped Athens became the most exciting city in the world for graffiti art.”

As the curators walked Athens they encountered a city in turmoil: closed shops and businesses, rough sleeping, strikes, protests, resistance, and police action. But above all they noticed an overwhelming proliferation of graffiti on buildings, walls and streets, and began to record these on their smartphones and cameras.

On the Streets of Athens - Art, Protest, Political Crisis

So multiple are the cross-overs and the layering in the graffiti that at times any distinctions become all but erased,” added Professor Frey. “Given this complexity, the images in the exhibition remain somewhat impressionistic.

“This underlies our decision to present the images primarily in the form of three synchronized projections of 123 photographic images, exploring three key aspects to this complexity. The first as street politics, the second as political art, and third as graffiti as art.”

The exhibition, which runs until Thursday 15 April, is hosted in the University’s Otter Gallery at its Bishop Otter campus in Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 6PE. A series of talks from visiting guests and lecturers will accompany the exhibition.

Find out more

To find out more about the exhibition go to www.chi.ac.uk/ottergallery. Alternatively contact the Otter Gallery at 01243 816098 or gallery@chi.ac.uk.

Exhibition opening times

Opening Times: Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm | Saturday and Sunday 11am to 6pm

Closed Good Friday, Saturday, Easter Sunday and bank holiday Monday

GRAFFITI from the streets of Greece

Additional talks

  • Tuesday 27 February, from 12:30 to 13:30: Professor Hugo Frey talks and tours the exhibition
  • Friday 2 March from 12:00 to 13:00: The Greek Crisis in Historical Context, Professor Dr Haris Vlavianos (American College of Greece, Athens)
  • Friday 2 March from 15:00 to 16:00: Artistic and aesthetic reflections on contemporary Greece, The poetry of Haris Vlavianos: readings, wine and discussions. Professor Dr Haris Vlavianos (American College of Greece, Athens)
  • Wednesday 14 March, from 17:00 to 18:30: Countercultural Visions: William Blake and the Visual Culture of the 1960s. The talk is led by Dr Luke Walker, Associate Lecturer, University of Roehampton, and is in association with the South Coast Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Research Group.
  • Thursday 22 March, from 13:45 to 14:45: The Hippy Trail: A historical context to the streets of Athens. Talk by Professor Sharif Gemie, author and independent scholar
  • Thursday 22 March from 18:00 to 19:00: Professor Hugo Frey talks and tours the exhibition
  • Monday 26 March from 13:00 to 14:00: NO BORD/ERS. Two Baudelarian flaneurs’ encounters with Athens graffiti artists and their everyday guileful tactics. A talk by Visiting Professor Dick Ellis, Department of History and Politics, University of Chichester.