Yiayia tell me your story /Traces on fabric

I come from a family that in the 50's farewelled many of its memebers who emigrated to distant lands, seeking to find a better life for themselves and their families. I remember from my childhood days, my beloved aunts, immigrants to Australia and America, to materialize the much awaited annual appointment with their sister, my grandmother, in Neapolis of Laconia.

Each time they met, what I felt was that they came together in order to fill in pieces of an emotional puzzle that al three of them had made a sacred oath to complete.

Many years passed. I grew up and realized that the puzzle remained incomplete forever.
I tried to understand why this happened. I wondered why at the end of each and every summer, the sisters ere saying goodbye to each other with a deep sigh, a kind of silent weeping.

I realized that this puzzle could never be completed, simply because some of the pieces were missing.

Now that the three sisters have passed away, I wanted somehow to invent the missing pieces in an attempt to complete their puzzle .

As I try to understand the feelings of the three women, I realize that these were feelings shared by the entire Hellenic Nation, since almost every Greek family had its own incomplete puzzle to share with loved ones, gone far away.
And ...I decided that the lost pieces would be stories traveling in space and time.

these stories carry in them what is called 'hellenism'. A state of existence that is timeless and omnipresent, imprinted in the hearts of all Hellene immigrant woman. Every Helen...

These women began to take shape, to the best of my ability as a painter. I created symbolic portraits in which I stored the memories and the pieces of the nation's puzzle.

The symbolic portraits are of young women from every province of Greece, wearing their traditional local costumes .
It is when their presence took form, that I started hearing their stories.
The home of Crinio's 
granddaughter in America smells magically like the Aegean.The linen dilutes the smell of soap and exudes in the room all the perfumes of Crinio's far away island. Oregano, tsai tou vounou, armyra, dried sea salt on island rocks...
The whole island is weaved with invisible threads on grandma's wedding dress. Always there, spreading its strong presence from the closet, after 40 whole years, fresh as new.

"Ball senten, 
Mashal benten"
Honey from me 
stories from you.
Ancient temple ....a sculpted tale...Flowing honey....aroma flying. East is filling the air in the West. The stories are puzzles of sites.

Such a beautiful woman, Mary of Cappadocia...
The sun rises from the West, just to take one glimpse of her glorious face.

 Sophia from Crete went down to the harbor to imagine her future. She knew that soon she would wear her wedding dress, would step on the boat and leave the island. She tried to picture the place that was calling for her.
Her new home .... her husband.
She wore her wedding gown and traveled for weeks. She met her husband and her new home with the electric refrigerator...All went well, but today she has promised Cretan sun dried tomatoes to her grandchildren. So, she went to the port and begged the sun coming from the East to fetch the sun-dried tomatoes from the garden of her mother.
These will surely be the most delicious Cretan, sundried tomatoes. Sun dried and bathed in sea salt.

They say that when Rea from Episkopi looks at the rain from her window, her cheeks become meadows watered by her eyes.
It looks like she’s been crying…maybe she has.
She waits, looking out of the window.
She doesn’t believe that she left her land forever,…she is certain she'll go back sometime…and she waters the meadow of her cheeks, with eyes looking at the rain outside the window.

The mountain Mana Vlacha and her master husband Lala Stergios, left her homeland, she can not remember when...
The 'mandila' is not dancing anymore in the cold wind of the mountains in the wilderness.
She is safe in the new warm places, in the new continent.
But she never heard a voice calling her with the sweetest name, she never replied to such call, never ever turned her head to a child shouting "Grandma!"
She is only turning her head only to "Mother Mari" -Great Mother.
To that call she feels her 'mandila' flapping against the cold breeze of the mountain, in the wildnerness."
The girl with the flowers on her head is the princess of the attic.
In her town house in America there is a wooden attic, full of old things, clothes and jewelry that once belonged to her yiayia, Eleni.
She climbs up there whenever she feels upset; she opens the trunk and loses herself in the old lace and the embroidered shoes, turning herself into a beautiful princess from Lefcada island.

Every night, yiayia Aphrodite from Skopelos turns her gaze towards the stars and makes up stories full of myhtical creatures and fairies.
Her grandchildren gather round her. In low, mystical voice she unfolds the strangest fairy tales from across the ocean, straight from a far away sea.
They say her stories are so beautiful that when she tells them, fish surface from the deep just to listen, the waves calm down and the moon leans from the sky, in order to hear better.

Such beautiful stories from her island far from here ….

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