The Antipodes Festival has spawned its own ‘fringe festival’ at the end of March.
If you go to the website for the Antithesis Festival their manifesto clearly states: “The Antithesis Festival will showcase local Greek-Australian art in an attempt to challenge stereotypes and show that there is more substance to Greek-Australian art than souvlaki, Greek dancing and the ‘Wog Boy'”.
The Antithesis Festival is being organised by a group of Melbourne Greek artists who have banded together to work co-operatively to present new and challenging works by second generation Greek Australians.
Amongst their ranks is a film maker, an actor, a writer and an arts administrator who have come together to create a platform to present works.
Highly regarded musician Nick Tsiavos, a member of the group, spoke to Neos Kosmos about what motivated them to join forces.
“There were a few Greek artists, musicians, poets, writers and film makers who felt their work was not being represented in the Antipodes Festival and we wanted to explore others aspects of Greek culture rather than go down the typical trails continued by Antipodes,” Tsiavos said. “So yes, we are pushing up against the Antipodes, but we think it is a healthy thing to have another voice there.”
As more second and third Generation Greeks Australians take the cultural stage, there is a strong and inevitable desire, as Tsiavos explained, to move away from stereotypes and to embrace a more sophisticated version of what it is to be Greek, “and not the brutish versions of nationalism, like covering yourself with the flag or dancing in a circle, or having a baklava,” said Tsiavos.
“I mean all those things are fine, but I think it’s time for other explorations.”
The artists involved with Antithesis are also keen to state that Antithesis hopes to be far more ecumenical in their belief that the ‘the whos, the whats and the wherefores’ of Greek culture is of interest to all audiences, not just Greek ones.
Above and beyond what the political details or aesthetic intentions behind this new festival are, having a ‘fringe’ of sorts in reaction to a much larger festival can only be positive. Simply by the fact that the ‘greater’ or ‘lesser’ of these festivals will not only support, but will also challenge each other in maintaining a shared goal of maintaining their culture.
For info on future events, go to their facebook page: Antithesis Festival (Hellenic underground) or http://antithesisfestival.wordpress.com/