Created in 2013, HYam Project is aiming at supporting budding artists from Mediterranean countries and more specifically the greek ones who are in a great need of support in this challenging economic times. We want to create a new yearly prize to a young artist whose work, whatever its media, will deal with interactions between various Mediterranean cultures and to promote him mainly through the co-production of exhibitions (in Greece and abroad), catalalogues and the setting up of a piece of art designed and dedicated to the island of Hydra. The project will also include an artist residence and the purchase of one work.
Here we are
The island of Hydra is located south of Athens in the Agean sea. You go about it on foot , donkeys ride or water taxis. Only five garbage trucks on the island ! Highly cosmopolitan, Hydra hosts every summer contemporary art exhibitions in unsual places such as the old high school, the slaughter house run by the collecor Dakis Ioannou and an old ship repair garage of a mansion once belonging to the Bulgari family run by the collector Pauline Karpidas.
The buzz has been building for the last few years. With the opening of Slaughterhouse in 2009, coupled with the growing influence of Hydra School Projects and Hydra Workshop, the island has earned itself a spot on the summer art tour, attracting many of the same pilgrims who go to Art Basel and biennales. Long before the galleries and celebrity-studded openings, though, Hydra was a refuge for artists and intellectuals. The writers Henry Miller and Lawrence Durrell came to stay with the painter Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghikas at his family’s mansion in the late 1930s. In his travel book “The Colossus of Maroussi”, Miller compared the island to a “huge loaf of petrified bread”.
The singer and songwriter Leonard Cohen bought a home here in the 1960s and Marianne, his famous girlfriend bought a house carved out the rock face (here we are). A rush of
creative types followed them: poets, artists and musicians, who thronged the open-air tavernas at night and set up communal houses in the decrepit mansions.
More recently the appeal for artists has been the large number of collectors, patrons and gallery owners who have homes on the island,. Dakis Ioannou said collectors chose Hydra because of its bohemian past and its architecture, which is grander than that of most Hellenic islands. In the 18th century Hydra was filled with wealthy merchants, admirals and sea captains who built mini stone palazzos in the Venetian style.
But its art scene lasts only for the summer; as soon as the cool weather rolls in come october, the island reverts to its simple, quiet self.