A Wish – To Create by Efrossini Chaniotis
The Wishing Tree series
Backdrop: approx 85x60cm
TO CREATE depicts a person who has visited the wishing tree and shared with it their deepest longing. The experience leaves them changed. They leave with a clearer picture of who they are and who they can become .
This is expressed in an image they either hold or wear, a portrait of themselves; their ideal self or true self.
To Create represents her wish to create, to be an artist, to blossom and is expressed as a painting of herself surrounded by hundreds of blossoming flowers. She has painted this portrait herself and holds it proudly, together with her paintbrushes.
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Having studied sculpture in Australia and painting in Greece, Efrossini’s practice naturally combined both. Her vibrant colour palette is reflective of growing up ‘down under’ and her propensity for storytelling, myth and exploration of Mediterranean themes, the indelible imprint of a rich cultural heritage.
The Painted Sculpture features figurative mixed media works which Efrossini describes evocatively as representing the meeting of Hellenism and Australianism. “My sculptures represent a creative journey through a landscape of migration, cross-cultural education, and artistic identity. In Australia, I learnt to think laterally to develop concepts behind my art and experiment, free from the authority that tradition bares. In Greece, I was taught discipline and to embrace art history and to seek beauty which inspired me to believe in the power of art”
The PAINTED SCULPTURE showcases 3 themes current in Efrossini’s work: The Wishing Tree, The Fisherman and Mermaid’s Tale and The Little Mykonos Project. All 3 explore the capacity for art to generate and tell spirited stories. All three aspire to evoke emotion and wonder in an adult audience and all merge the colour and compositional elements inherent in the painting medium with the figurative, sculptural form.
The influences in her work are drawn from childhood experiences of storytelling, modern art and her Hellenic background. Her execution and themes are in her own admission: “wholly person centred, perhaps romantic and idealized”. As a Greek-Australian and as a sculptor and painter, her work deals with bringing opposites together. Efrossini is compelled to and delights in, discovering ways of creating harmony between things; a purpose ingrained in her from a young age.
The Wishing Tree serie
The PAINTED SCULPTURE features strongly in my art and is an accurate description of my 3D work. I’ve been drawn to painting my sculptures since my 1st year of art school. Only later did it dawn on me that artists have been doing so since prehistoric times, strengthening my resolve to continue exploring this natural tendency of mine. Amongst the many ‘painted sculptures’ exhibited here, 4 belong to my WISHING TREE story, a series that is an ongoing work in progress.
Each figure represents the wish they made when they visited the tree; an experience that leaves them with a clearer picture of their most vibrant self. This is expressed in a self-portrait they either hold or have tattooed on their body. Each figure also has a part of the Wishing Tree’s branches or leaves attached to them symbolizing that its wisdom and presence is now a part of them.
The story as it stands currently, tells that when they return home from visiting the tree, they are guided to go through a deep cleansing to better understand and envision their true self so that their wishes can come true. Eventually, the tree calls each person back once their wish is ready to be granted/manifested and whispers in their ears a unique story that holds the essence of their heart’s desire in it.
“In the hearing: the wishes come true, and in the telling: they are released into the air like pollen, spreading far and wide in the form of stories, myths and fables. Their wishes are woven into the fabric of cultures around the world and shared so they may inspire others…”