Fragments from an Aegean Shore

Danae Natsis & Lou Efstathiou

Eleni Marneri Galerie, 5-7 Lebessi, Athens, Greece

July 20  – August 31 2017

Fragments from an Aegean Shore is a collaboration between two Greek artists. Danae Natsis is a Greek/Australian contemporary jeweller living and working in Sydney, Australia. Lou Efstathiou is a Greek/American painter and sculptor living and working in Athens, Greece. In this body of collaborative work they have brought together their shared love of Greek cultural history, ancient artefacts, the sea, and humorous and intimate objects.

For many years Lou, his family and friends, including Danae, have spent time collecting sea-worn ceramic tile fragments from a beach on the island of Kea where Lou has his summer studio. Lou then draws amusing and intimate portraits of fish of the Aegean, leisurely women and Minoan goddesses on these tiles, as well as on found wood panels. In the tradition of miniature portrait jewellery, Danae has now made these artworks into personal adornments.



Lou at first made the tile drawings as miniatures to amuse himself and friends and family. This intention is similar to the idea of a jewel as an intimate artwork. A jewel is an object that travels on the body; it can be a talisman that connects with the wearer’s sentiments and tells stories about who they are. Jewels can bring pleasure and nostalgia as receptacles for memories. One of the functions of jewels is to evoke emotions and memories in the wearer when they see and touch them.

Lou and Danae are both very interested in the various aspects of time. This includes time spent with family and friends making art, and time collecting and contemplating found materials. For Lou it is the act of taking a human-made found object that has undergone the duress of time and modifying it with images that evoke our ancient past, and sometimes also incorporating contemporary themes. For Danae these works continue the marine themes in her work, as well as her interest in ancient artefacts and treasures from under the sea. They also speak about the effects of time on objects, and materials that have a history, a past life of their own.

Danae is interested in the transformation of an everyday material, clay, into a precious artefact – in this case, with the intervention of time and two contemporary artists, a simulacrum of an ancient fragment. She sees it as creating new history and treasures that echo the ancient precious artefacts that have been discovered in the waters of the Aegean and on the land. She finds it fascinating that earth – the simplest of elements and one of the first materials used by humans to make objects and art – is still so relevant to our modern lives. Clay is the basis of many of the things we live with and in, and use every day. It connects us to our ancestors in a direct line of makers stretching back through time. In Sydney Danae has been making her own clay from the soil of the family garden. This clay may one day also become a precious artefact.

Lou is very interested in the Minoan history of the island of Kea. Cycladic remains, such as snake goddess figurines, have been found there and can be seen in the island’s museum in Ioulida. For Lou, most of the works are inspired by Minoan and ancient paintings rather than being copies of them. The Minoan and Cycladic are his favourite styles in ancient Greek art, not for the reasons you would expect – stylisation and economy of gesture – but because he thinks they are funny. He sees in these works a kind of Aristophanic humour. In his view, modern reverence towards ancient objects as artefacts is only one way of looking at it; he prefers to speculate about their everyday use, and how they often depict raunchy and bawdy humour. Imagine, he says, what it would have been like to see a play by Aristophanes for the first time in antiquity. It probably would have been a pretty ruckus affair.  Via his contemporary reinterpretation Lou seeks to put the ‘funny’ back into how we view these objects/artefacts.

Lou’s fish images not only recall the stylisation of fish in antiquity, but also represent actual fish of the Aegean. These are fish that he got to know and understand in his years of spear-fishing, though at the same time he always enjoys eating them!

In these works, the artists merge interpretations of antiquity with contemporary wave-worn fragments while evoking the island shores from which the materials originate.


Artist Biographies

Danae Natsis is a Greek-Australian jewellery artist, born in Athens and living and working in Sydney. She graduated from the College of Fine Arts, UNSW and has an Advanced Diploma in Jewellery & Object Design from Design Centre Enmore, Tafe NSW. Awards include an Australia Council Art Start Grant, the Student Development Award at Buda Contemporary Australian Silver & Metalwork Exhibition, & an Honorable Mention in the 7th International Cheongju Craft Biennale in Korea. She has has staged international solo exhibitions at el.Marneri Galerie in Athens, Greece, and at Studio 2017 in Sydney, Australia. She has also had work shown at Joya Barcelona International Contemporary Jewellery Fair and at the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne. Danae was artist in residence at Montsalvat in Victoria, and has been published in Marthe Le Van & Bruce Metcalf,Showcase 500 Rings: New Directions in Art Jewelry.

Lou Efstathiou is a Greek-American sculptor and painter who has lived and worked in Greece for more than 40 years. Born in New Hampshire, and raised in Boston, Mass., he studied sculpture at Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, where he received numerous prizes and fellowships. After graduating with honours, he was awarded a prestigious Hunt travelling scholarship which allowed him to travel and study art extensively in Asia and Europe. He has exhibited widely in the United States and Europe, including a 20-year retrospective at the Hellenic American Union, Athens, and his works are held in numerous collections. Efstathiou is also a qualified teacher and has taught art at the University of New Hampshire, St Paul’s School, New Hampshire, and the Athens Campus of the University of La Verne.


Scroll down for images.

All jewels are made by Danae Natsis and Lou Efsthathiou.
Each piece is a combination brooch and pendant.
Materials are permanent marker and acrylic on found ceramic tile, oxidised sterling silver, remainium stainless steel pin.
Jewels had accompanying handmade oxidised silver chains or leather necklaces.

All pantings are by Lou Efstathiou, materials are acrylic on found wood.
























Fragments from an Aegean Shore | 2018 | Uncategorized, W O R K S