Donovan’s Sapphographs Cause a Sensation at SapphoFest 2010 in Greece

by Chris Murray on June 21, 2010

The first day of summer and I have just returned from a truly extraordinary series of events in Greece with poet, musician, and artist, Donovan and his wife and muse Linda. Donovan’s Sapphographs opened on June 1st, at the Hellenic American Union in the very stylish Kolonaki neighborhood of Athens where the exhibition created a sensation. Donovan’s Sapphographs were the centerpiece of the first SapphoFest organized by Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies, in association with Govinda Gallery. Donovan’s Sapphographs were installed in the Hellenic American Union’s John F. Kennedy Gallery and the monumental scale of these remarkable works on paper energized the massive crowd of people attending the opening night reception. Special thanks to the Center for Hellenic Studies for their extraordinary support of this exhibition and to Ira Papadopoulou, Director of Cultural Affairs, at the Hellenic American Union.

Athens was abuzz with Donovans Sapphographs and over a dozen feature stories were published in magazines, newspapers, and on television and radio. Also featured in the exhibition, curated by Govinda Gallery’s Chris Murray, was a multimedia interactive installation titled The Tenth Muse by the California based art team; Revolver. Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies, Gregory Nagy, was heard saying of The Tenth Muse, “It just grabs you!” Another very special part of the exhibition was artist Gyp Mill’s cast bronze sculpture of Sappho’s harp, titled, Lover’s Leap. Gyp, Donovan’s longtime friend who is featured in a number of Donovan’s songs, spent over twenty-five years in his studio on the island of Paros, in Greece, working as a sculptor.

SapphoFest 2010 travled to the Center for Hellenic Studies beautiful building in the gorgeous town of Nafplio where on June 4th there was a second exhibition of Donovan’s Sapphographs and a series of dynamic and engaging lectures on ancient Greece from a renowned group of scholars.

There are so many wonderful stories and images from all of these events and we will feature them in a series of posts. For now, here are some pictures from the opening night in Athens and some of the cast of characters.

Installation image from Hellenic American Union of Donovan’s Sapphographs.

Installation image of Delta and Sappho’s Song.

Donovan singing his song Be Mine, composed from Sappho’s fragments.

Ritual dancer preforming at the opening reception.

Donovan signing autographs.

Donovan, Linda Lawrence, installation team Braxton Carter and Christann Moore and curator Chris Murray interacting with The Tenth Muse.

The Tenth Muse installation at the HAU Ghikas Gallery.

Center for Hellenic Studies Director Greg Nagy with Chris Murray, CHS’ Douglas Frame and Revolver team.

Donovan and Gyp Mills with Gyp’s bronze sculpture Lover’s Leap.

HAU board member Dr. Cissie Kozoni, Donovan, and Ira Papadopoulou.

The view of the Acropolis from the roof restaurant of the Hellenic American Union at a magical dinner in Donovan’s honor after the opening reception.

All images Copyright © Hellenic American Union. All Rights Reserved.

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