Interview by Mike Petrakis at NRC Handelsblad Dutch newspaper 

 Topic: Dutch Press – Report about the exhibition “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” of the Greek Embassy in the Netherlands

The NRC Handelsblad newspaper published an interview organized by the Press and Communication Office in Hague for the view of the Greek Embassy Art Exhibition, entitled “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥”. In the interview by the journalist Brian van der Bol, titled «Greek art for the crisis in democracy “, are noted the following:

“Greeks are unresponsive towards crisis”, considers Mike Petrakis.
The Greek Consulate in Hague presents his work. A painting with a swastika is hanging in the Hall of the Greek Consulate. It refers to the Golden Dawn. The fascist party, notorious for its gangs who persecute immigrants, garnered in the elections of last year, about 7% of the vote. ”Democracy is not so obvious”’, argues the Greek Consul, Dimitrios Sparos. “How the Nazis were created? There are clear similarities between then and now.”

Mr. D. Sparos invited the Greek artist Mike Petrakis to exhibit his work at the Greek Consulate. The exhibition “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” raises questions about the functioning of democracy. Especially Greece, the cradle of democracy, must continue to critically examine the functioning of the system, consider Mr D. Sparos as well as M. Petrakis.

Mike Petrakis (age 37), who introduces himself as a “contemporary conceptual artist”, is not positive towards the State of democracy in modern times. In many of his artworks, the English word democracy is distorted into something else, as for example “democrisis” or “democrazy”. For M. Petrakis, democratic statutes have the same bad qualities as well as their creators, humans. “In the European Union for example, everything revolves around money, while what ought to prevail is the well-being of the people”.

Greece, due to multi-billion loans emergency financial assistance, is located under the whip of the EU, the ECB and the IMF. Harsh austerity measures are applied to arrange the Finance of the Country. M. Petrakis is disappointed with the lack of responsiveness of the Greeks in the country’s recession. 

Of course, demonstrations and strikes are taking place in a regular basis, but the average Greek citizen is unresponsive, he says. “I don’t see true desire to face the problems.”

Mr D. Sparos and M. Petrakis believe the Greek as well as the international media, focused only on the negative aspects of the country. There is a great focus on the lack of fiscal morality, the weakness of statutes, corruption and growing poverty. “They present a caricature of Greece”, says the Consul.

M. Petrakis observes that at the place where he lives, the Ionian island of Corfu, tourists behave with arrogance and especially visitors from Northern Europe. “They don’t realize what their Governments have done to push Greece in such a difficult situation.

Visitors to the exhibition in Hague are invited to write a comment on the meaning of democracy. M. Petrakis will gather the “reactions” of visitors to build a new artwork as an expression of the people’s voice.

At the end of the interview is noted that the exhibition “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” will be open to the public until August 2nd 2013, and gives it’s blog address, through which, group visits can be arranged.