I love to travel – not that I’ve had much of a chance to do so the last few years (even before the SARS-CoV-2 situation brought a halt to travelling around for just about all of us); I also have a love of cats (I’m the Chief Meal Giver and Dish Washer to two). So when an art exhibition combines both travel and cats, I’m going to hop along to take a look.
In My Greece, My Cats, open at the Kultivate Loft Gallery through most of April 2021, Slatan Dryke presents a personal series of images that document some of his travel to Greece over the years, revealing a place that has become one of his favourites – and introducing some of its feline denizens he came across during his visits.
Slatan is perhaps best known for his in-world sculptures and his digital art, which have been displayed widely across the grid and been a signature part of many collaborative endeavours. His work is oft marked by the use of vibrant colours or deep tones that can give it an almost symphonic depth. However, with My Greece, My Cats, we have a dozen images in monochrome or with a lean into sepia that suggest a lightness of touch and more informal musicality, something totally in keeping with the nature of the country he is representing.
My love of Greece goes back to when I travelled there for the first time more than 40 years ago. My good fortune has been that Greece is a neighbouring country, allowing me to visit so many of its islands where the marrow of its culture and traditions has not changed in centuries.
[But] don’t ask me about the most fashionable locations, because I have never been to them. Ask me about those small islands where the time runs slowly under the shade of a tamarisk tree.
– Slatan Dryke on his love of Greece
One place Slatan particularly fell in love with is the island of Astypalaia, one of the 12 members of the Dodecanese archipelago in the south Aegean Sea, and it is this that he celebrates within this exhibition.
With pieces finished as either photography or processed digital art, Slatan uses the exhibition to reveal the village of Astypalea (or Chora as it climbs one of Astypalaia’s craggy hills to where the imposing bulk of a stone castle sits, commanding a view on all sides. Castle and village are celebrated as a whole in three of the pictures in this exhibition, but so too are more personal aspects of the village and life there: the hand-written chalk menu at a café, the red-roofed barrels of old windmills that match along a street or a quiet place to sit at the water’s edge.
And, of course, there are the cats. As Slatan notes, no Greek village is complete without its local cats, and here he has magnificently captured them – including an endearing look at one cheeky little chappie peeking over a wall to see who dares disturb his rest…
An engaging and charming exhibition that will more than likely have you wanting to visit Astypalaia – I’ve already added it to my itinerary of future visits!
- Kultivate Loft Gallery (Water Haven, rated Moderate)