GREECE IN USA is a New York City-based organization that promotes Greek culture in the U.S. Founded by Dr. Sozita Goudouna, one of America’s acclaimed Greek curators and adjunct professor at City University of New York (CUNY), GREECE IN USA makes an impressive launch amid the pandemic, under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture, with the group exhibition The Right to Silence? on the reform of criminal justice.
The first iteration is presented at John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) until July 31, 2021, with the participation of 43 Greek and Cypriot artists, while the second parallel program “The Right to Breathe” will be launched May 14, 2021, at Seneca Village in Central Park and at UNDERCURRENT.NYC with the participation of 100 Greek artists. The exhibition venue was selected owing to its focus on U.S. and EU partnerships such as EUNIC and UN/MUTE.
«The Nightingale of the Emperor of China» and The Right to Silence Painting and video with sound.
This video work is inspired by the famous fairy tale of Hans Christian Andersen. The Nightingale tells the story of the Emperor of China who heard a nightingale sing, saying it was the most beautiful sound he ever heard. The Emperor of China has an invaluable treasure in his palace: A nightingale singing beautifully. His melodic voice touches the heart of the toughest man. But the emperor doesn't know that nightingales don't live in prison... The nightingale agreed to attend the emperor’s court and sing, eventually staying – that is, until a bejeweled mechanical gold bird was given to the emperor who then banished the nightingale. The mechanical version breaks down, and the emperor becomes sick – so sick that he is dying. Forgiving the emperor for choosing the mechanical version, the nightingale returns to sing, healing the emperor. The Nightingale of the Emperor" praises the value of simplicity, freedom, love and offering to our fellow human beings.
My work combines the stillness of the emperor - who is the Qianlong Emperor (1711-1799), the fifth Emperor of the Qing dynasty - and the engineer-painted nightingale in opposition to the vitality of the true, free-singing, giving life to the imprisoned heroes who remain silent in the face of the power of truth and love. It is a metaphor of silence that becomes prison and of the voice-soul that becomes freedom by giving healing and forgiveness. Emperors and humble citizens are not exempt from this rule.