The inaugural Mykonos Art Festival is directed by Andonis Kioukas. The Athens-based artistic director is managing director of the production company Qkas, which specialises in producing stand-out events across the cultural sphere and has had international fashion star Marc Jacobs and the acclaimed Thessaloniki Film Festival as previous clients. As such, visitors to the Mykonos Art Festival are bound to experience something spectacular.
The esteemed Greek artist Costas Tsoclis, who has previously represented Greece at the Venice Biennale, opened the Mykonos Art Festival. His new exhibition considered the four natural elements in a site-specific installation at the Athens School of Fine Arts Mykonos Annex. His large-scale work will be on show until the end of the festival, so there’s plenty of time to visit.
The Mykonos Art Festival also seeks to celebrate the archaeological history of Delos, its neighbouring island. The exhibition Cycladic Snapshots: Monuments and Their People, which was first shown in Athens last year, celebrates the archaeologists, photographers and architects who have excavated at the ancient UNESCO World Heritage Site. The exhibition focusses particularly on the work during the 19th and 20th centuries with a plethora of photographs and paraphernalia that pay homage to the dynamic work that has taken place on the island.
‘With free entrance for all, we try to give small moments of carefree fun to our fellow citizens who have neither the chance nor the ability to attend such high-level events,’ said the Mayor of Mykonos Konstantinos Koukas ahead of the festival’s opening. The dynamic leader was elected to the position of mayor at the age of 32 in 2014 and has since sought to put Mykonos’s culture on the map. Not only does free entrance guarantee access to the locals, but it also means that it is easy for visitors to make spontaneous visits too.
Mykonos has long enjoyed a reputation as a party destination. Often referred to as the Ibiza of the Aegean, the Greek island draws an increasingly glamorous crowd who hang out at the decadent beach clubs. With this new art festival in Mykonos, the organisers hope to showcase the island as a cultural destination as well. However, the organisers have stressed that the festival doesn’t seek to take away from the other offerings of the island. As the press release comments, the festival is designed ‘ultimately to be an additional, different, motivation to visit Mykonos, worthy of the island’s identity’.
Exhibiting artists are only one aspect of the Mykonos Art Festival. Throughout the summer, Greek singers and composers such as George Dalaras, Eleftheria Arvanitaki, Alkistis Protopsalti and Stavros Xarchakos will take to the stage in Mykonos to bring traditional Greek music and contemporary hits to the island.
Although Tinos may be building a reputation for itself as the island for food lovers, its neighbouring island is offering fierce competition. The finale of the Mykonos Art Festival will be a celebration of the island’s gastronomy during a three-day event at the end of September. Visitors will have the chance to sample some of the island’s finest delicacies from Mykonian tyrovolia to the best street food on the island.
The programme for the Mykonos Art Festival is packed. Other highlights include a grape-stomping feast hosted by the Mykonos Folklore Museum, sound installations in Ano Mera Square and concerts in Mykonos’s lighthouse. You can find out more information about the full range of events and activities on the Mykonos Art Festival website.
Mykonos Art Festival 2018 runs throughout the summer until the end of September.