An exhibition under the title «Needlepoint of Life- The Lace in Mykonos«, took place between 1- 9 Αugust 2013 in the Town Hall Art Gallery of the Chora on the island.
Τhe building is a donation of Irene G.Igglesi, wife of poet Ioannis Gryparis. This old building used to be the first medical centre of the island as well as the public library of Mykonos.
The exhibtion’s curation was done by Mina Karayianni. The building’s interior has the form of an island home, so there were some difficulties regarding the planning of the exhibition.
The exhibition was an idea of the Women’s Folk Culture Group of Mykonos who wanted to show to locals and visitors a part of the island’s history in connection to women. Research was done by the Group’s Chairwoman Dimitra Nazou, who used to be Curator of the Folk Culture Museum of Mykonos. The Museum contributed to the exhibition as well.
The exhibited items included various types of embroidery done by artists of past times who copied designs from old magazines like Philocallos Penelope. The designs are inspired from the plant and animal world, but there are a few representing human figures, too. Some have art deco designs or mixed techniques and are really unique.
Τhese works of art were found in various houses in Mykonos, parts of the so called “dowry” of women and date to the mid 19th century till the 1970’s when the activity ceased and was replaced by knitting for commercial reasons.
There was an interesting video to be shown, made by Dimitris Kalfakis, where women of all ages recount their memories of the embroidering procedure.
All narrations are remarkable but we’d like to point out the one by 90 year old mrs. Sigala-Galouni Belonia who, with characteristic calm and sweetness, talks about how she started at age 9 to make embroideries, although she got a slap from her mother who discovered that her daughter had taken all her threads! She used to sell her work at the harbour and later became a weaver and sold her work to the tourists in Delos. She used to exhibit them on small carpets on the ancient monuments. Along with her mother they worked for years on their needlework by the light of the candle late at night when the rest of the family were asleep.
Visitors of the exhibition had also the opportunity to watch a digital installation by artist Penelope Thomaidis shown on the façade of the building.
The research material for the exhibition is to be found in a book, edited by Voula and Francesca Chanioti. Visitors of the exhibition received the book as a gift along with Mina Karayianni’s article on lace, uploaded in greek on the site www.peopleandideas.gr
This article served as inspiration for the exhibition.