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.

Category: Blog, Events   

4 responses to “Donovan’s Sapphographs Cause a Sensation at SapphoFest 2010 in Greece”

  1. william Adair says:

    Chris, I wish I could have been there, it looks like another big hit for Govinda on the world art scene, cant you get something going in Italy?


  2. Mandy Aftel says:

    Chris this looks so beautiful. I love the scale of Don’s pictures the way you presented them is very beautiful.

  3. gypsy says:

    hi Chris looks great ,we need more times like this ,was really fun and everyone enjoyed the learning process very much too .Pannee at home now in Thailand I am about to go to Windsor Eton to stay hotel there and wait for Dono to come from Ireland ( I think) then we go to Dave Wynnes book event . When are we going to see you and your lovely wife in Thailand . Hope all well with you and your family ,keep safe and well all of you .Wonderful to have spent those few days with you in wonderful Greece .Keep the memory of Briam close to your heart and you will remember the spirit of Greece ,all our love and keep up the good work ,gyp and Pannee xxx

  4. Kate Perry says:

    The Sapphographs–the photos of the pieces themselves and lovely settings plus your text–are transporting. And I say this from my office desk in Washington, DC. We need such inspiration here! Thank you for sharing such poetry. Any chance you could post the lectures? Kate

  5. […] in 2010, but two that were extraordinary were the exhibitions of Donovan’s Sapphographs in Athens and Nafplio organized with Harvard University’s Center for Hellenic Studies and The Hellenic […]

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