Make the world a better place through Art.
Every year I organise a large scale art exhibition for the support of the homeless of Greece. It is called SURPRISE and at the risk of touting my own horn, to my knowledge it is the most successful benefit art event in the history of Greek Art.
Every year I swear I will never do it again (but I always do). Except this year. This year it was a go from the beginning because this year marks the 10th anniversary of the exhibition – a decade of using the power of art to make the world a better place.
It is hard to believe 10 years have gone by. Even harder to believe we successfully kept it up for so long. I am grateful to all the artists – more than 2000 by now – who have made it possible throughout the years, donating their work to support the cause. They rest at the core of the event’s success. (All the wonderful images illustrating this post are from artworks we have featured in our shows between 2009 – 2018)
SURPRISE employs the universal language and the power of art to bring positive change. It is an alternative yet very simple premise. Artists don’t necessarily have the financial means to give back to society but they have ample reserves of talent that can be enlisted to get the same result. To get a better result actually, because at the same time art makes more people happy.
The initiative is embraced by the art-world, local and international. Every year we have participants from all over Greece, but also artists from other countries, even other continents. This year we have had submissions from as far as Brazil, Japan and Canada. This is hopeful. And humbling.
I will not pretend it is an easy thing to do. In fact, organising it sucks. Big time. The sheer volume of participants and buyers, together with the sponsors, the press even the team working on it – it all adds up to a near-impossible amount of interaction. Misunderstandings come and go, bad blood flows here and there.
I am a shy person deep down, this depletes me.
But it is all worth it so much. Worth it because we always have a result. Worth it because at little individual expense to everyone involved, together we make a huge difference. We give a little each but the sum of hundreds of littles is substantial. It is big enough to improve the lives of our fellow humans and this erases all the unease that comes from putting it together.
This year however, it sucks the most. Despite organising it months in advance, with this and that, life (and summer) got in the way and progress is minimal. There seems to be a surplus of bad vibes. Now in the nick of time, frantically tackling all aspects of it simultaneously, trying to overcome obstacles, trying to make it all come together.
This is not really new. It usually goes like that, except this year it feels a little worse. Maybe because it is the anniversary. It adds extra pressure. Or maybe I am getting too old to handle this pressure.
It is Saturday night now, I have been working since the morning, slowly coming apart and I am thinking to myself “what am I doing”? I am quite unsure of the result, whether we will make it or not. All I can do is do my best and hope it is going to be good enough.
Or maybe perfect.
Maybe it all works out in the end, the way it always does.
SURPRISE X is set to open on 11 October 2019 at the The Project Gallery, in central Athens. Drop by to say hi – if you happen to be in the area – and see what we have prepared for you. If not, you can view the artworks here.
For artists interested in participating, we are accepting donations through to the last minute. Send an sample of your work at email@example.com and we will get back to you immediately.