Photos & interviews of “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” show in the Hague – Netherlands


Artist Mike Petrakis, with Head Officer of the Embassy, Mr Dimitrios Sparos, Greek Ambassador in Hague, Mrs Thiresia Aggelatou and Sir Jason Georgiou, Co-director of Vecom Marine firm, (one of the sponsors of this show).
















Interview of Mike Petrakis at NRC Handelsblad 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.

Mary Vaxevanidou

Mike Petrakis on

“My art alludes to the words, icons and symbols we consume in our everyday life, in an attempt to redefine them”

Mike Petrakis is a contemporary mass culture artist with a twist. His art is characterized by secret gems and mind teasers that he has planted for his audience to find. His philosophy is that Art should appeal to a wide audience of all social tiers. His mission isn’t to cynically trash the whole of society along with its signs and symbolism; instead, he manages to reopen the debate on the associations we sometimes automatically make with various cultural icons. Under this scope his latest exhibition “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥”, initially presented at the Art Gallery of Corfu Municipality and currently hosted at the Greek Embassy in The Hague, tries to awaken people’s consciousness on the nature, meaning and functions of Democracy. ελculture spoke with Mike Petrakis about his exhibition, his so far experience in the Netherlands as well as his future plans.

ελc:Democracy is a very wide concept. Which angle of this concept is this exhibition trying to cover?
Mike Petrakis: The aim of this exhibition is to redefine the meaning and concept of Democracy and its functions. Referring, first of all, to Democracy between the people and then the function of Institutions (Social, Politics, Religious, Economic, etc.)working for or against the people.

ελc: What is the role of the art during a turbulent socio – political period like the one we are in?
MP: Contemporary Art, as presented through museums and galleries during the last years, has an entertaining character, which is the result of our nowadays existence under the influence of show biz. However, I could say that the last two to three years especially through large scale contemporary art fairs (7th Berlin Biennale, Documenta, Venice Biennale 2013), we see the rise of some new artists and voices that address more people’s problems; problems about existence, politics, etc. That is also the aim of my art – philosophy, to allude to the corruption and corrosion, to the words, icons and symbols which we consume in our everyday life, in an attempt to redefine them.

ελc: What kind of questions does “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” raise?
MP: “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” installation, wants to bring back the dialogue on the real meaning and nature of Democracy, especially today during the international economic crisis, which is actually more of a conscience crisis. Furthermore, crisis is a ‘product’, which comes and goes in the latest history and which will come again in the future, addapted to the values of each period. So, we must make a pause, restart and redefine our real values as human entities.

ελc: If I’m not mistaken, there is an interactive part in the exhibition. What is its purpose?
Yes, the exhibition is interactive as well and its purpose is to make visitors participate more in the theme, subject and meaning of the installation and subsequently of Democracy. Specifically, the exhibition ends with the process of Democreation, where the visitors, influenced by the creative process and presentation of the artworks, have the chance to write their own message or slogan for what they think Democracy stands for. Moreover, I reckon myself as an artist, who represents some people’s ‘voice’; a vessel that will carry their message or comment on Democracy and above all its functions.

ελc: I’ve read that the exhibition in The Hague is enhanced with some additional artwork. Was it just a matter of timing or are there any other reasons?
I have created 5 new works since the previous presentation at the Municipal Gallery of Corfu – Greece. I could say that this is a project in constant progress and to this adds the participation of the audience in the installation. In its next presentation at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation, which will take place in Athens – Greece this October, I will also show some new creations together with the Democreations of Corfu and The Hague, as a common voice of these three cities, including Athens.

ελc: What is the reception of the audience in The Hague so far?
The reception of the people in The Hague and Holland in general is very positive so far. The media show a great interest as well. Recently, I gave an interview to one of the most important newspapers of Netherlands, the “NRC Handelsbland”. To conclude, I would like to thank Mr. Dimitrios Sparos for helping me with the presentation of this very important exhibition at the Embassy of Greece in Netherlands.

The next solo show of Mike Petrakis, where the artist will present his new oil paintings on paper, is entitled “Call it Hate, Call it Love, I call it ART” and will be presented at the Bella Venezia Hotel in Corfu – Greece from 9 – 23 July 2013. “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” will be also presented at the Michael Cacoyannis Foundation in October 2013.



6 Responses to “Photos & interviews of “The Land of D€MOCRA$¥” show in the Hague – Netherlands”

  1. Nicky Says:

    I agree with your perspective Democracy by the people and for the people, that’s all starts, without expecting from politicians to change it.

  2. Arabella Says:

    The installation with the paintings on wood and the word game comes from the word Democracy, like Democrisis, Democrack, e.t.c, I found it very smart and almost genius. Serving very clear the message to the world. Happy visiting it. Arabella.

  3. Peter Brook Says:

    Agree with the previous post, very genius at all. Thanks for sharing it Sir Petrakis.

  4. Jenny Says:

    Democracy is a very complicated subject and system. I think you approach is in a very good level, starting for humans Democracy, following to Institutions. I’ve send to your email, some of my thoughts too for the subject. Please let me know your opinion. Hello again.

  5. G. Hammond Says:

    Hello Mr. Petrakis, I’m an artist from Arizona, U.S.. Your interview about the art world and Democracy, is a nice statement during to our days as a contemporary artist. I think the art market had corrupt.

  6. Ioannis Dousis Says:

    Hello, my name is Ioannis Dousis, Mr. Petrakis and I’ll be happy to see that very interesting exhibition in Athens, this October.

Leave a Reply