The G & A Mamidakis Foundation is a forum for action and creativity that initially focussed on art and freedom of cultural expression. The Art Symposium was an initiative by the Foundation that helped art and culture from all over the world travel around the world through the eyes of visitors.
The first international Art Symposium was held in June 1988 in Agios Nikolaos, Crete, at the Minos Beach Hotel. Thirty-two artists and five speakers from Europe, Greece and the United States met together in a public arena, creating works and sharing ideas amidst the exclusive environs of the Minos Beach Hotel. The surroundings of the first symposium inspired the artists to create works which were characterised by the variety and plurality of their aesthetic approaches. The sculptures adorning the hotel’s gardens, whether standing, hanging, resting on surfaces or attached to other natural or man-made structures, became part of the hotel’s natural environment.
During the European Year of Tourism in 1990, the second Art Symposium took place, focusing on the topic of a new cultural identity for the Mediterranean. New works were displayed by sixteen artists from the Mediterranean (Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Spain and Turkey) and speeches were given by seven art critics on the theme of the Symposium, which was the search for a new Mediterranean cultural identity in contemporary art. It became clear that the Mediterranean was once more a theatre of new values with great influence for the whole world.
In the summer of 1993, the theme of the Third Symposium was Art in Politics. The 22 guest artists and seven critics and scholars were from Central and Eastern Europe (Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Bulgaria). Its main aim was to present artists whose freedom of expression and output had for so long been restricted by totalitarian regimes.
The fourth Art Symposium, entitled “Riches of Cyprus”, took place in the summer of 1996. Eight distinguished Cypriot artists created works of art during the Symposium and exhibited them in the hotel and its grounds. Using of various media such as metal, copper, marble, canvas and wood, as well video art, the works were characterised by a conceptual approach.
Chilean art travelled to Crete in July 1999 for the fifth Art Symposium, in a multi-faceted exhibition of sculpture, painting, photography, theatre and song. The work of the eight artists was displayed in the welcoming grounds and interior of the Minos Beach Art’Otel, establishing how close cultural, political and human relations can be, despite the geographical distance that separates countries.
The exhibitions continue…
More recently, the following exhibitions have been held:
- In June 2006, “Mechanics 1978-2006” by the renowned sculptor Yannis Parmakelis opened and continued until September 2006. Four of his works are in the Foundation’s permanent collection.
- “Landscapes & people in the 1960s” was an exhibition of black and white photographs taken in and around Agios Nikolaos in the summer of 2007.
- The photographs of Cretan landscapes and traditions, “Crete in black and white”, have been on permanent display at the Minos Palace Hotel & Suites since Easter 2011.
Exhibitions are accompanied by lavishly illustrated catalogues which are free to visitors and artists working locally and in exhibitions and workshops abroad.
They can be seen on the Internet on regularly updated websites.
At the same time, two travel guides, “The Unknown Crete” and “The Unknown Rhodes” have been published. Through a series of photographs and fascinating descriptions, they introduce readers to archaeological sites, monasteries and other less well-known spots.
Since 2008, the Foundation has placed emphasis on raising awareness about the environment, using detailed information leaflets to focus the attention of guests and employees on saving water and energy.
The programme is constantly being expanded with new initiatives and policies and the hotels are in permanent contact with the Municipality of Agios Nikolaos for plans being effected in October 2011 and in 2012.