The Statue Lake_Mesa Mas Vatheia
“My students prepare for one to two years in order to enter the Athens School of Fine Arts (ASFA). The exams have not really evolved since the mid 19th century, when the School was founded. For 180 years now, prospective students that aim to enter the ASFA spend one to five years of their lives drawing statues in preparatory education where I teach.
I asked my students why do they think it is that 99% of studio teachers at the ASFA are male while 65% of students are female. Most people stayed silent. I felt silly, I felt like a fool. Some people muttered that it was weird. I couldn’t tell if they meant my question or the situation in the ASFA. I asked them why female art teachers are as rare as pink dinosaurs. Some people said that maybe this happens because men are just better painters. I asked the boys how they would feel if all teachers were women. Everybody laughed, a long, laughter of relief to break up the awkwardness. Laughter meant that there was something to work on. I still felt like a fool, I hoped to at least be a funny fool. A fool they were eager to discuss with.
Regardless, I have to teach them how to draw ancient Greek statues. I have to tell them that Hermes’ nose is straighter than they assume, that Aphrodite’s head is shaped like a strawberry, that Zeus’s curls need to be sketched using light and shadow, or else they will look like spaghetti worms. I have been doing this work for 12 years now.”
In her performances, Miss Pink Dinosaur addresses the apparatus reproducing anoriginal Greekness in a most particular way while speaking about the institutional, formal and reproductive particulars of university education that aspiring artists receive in Greece. The exam system that glorifies the ancient Greek statues, as erections of the perfect, canonical ‘ancient human form’ still functions to invest in icons of normativity, whiteness and perfect Greekness progonoplexia as the measure of artistic genius.
Teacher: Despina Sevasti
Students swan chorus: Vasso Anagnostopoulou, Manos Bazanis, Anastasia Diavasti,
Presented @ Glam Slam! 2, Athens, 20/5/2018