“All people have to get back to their cultural, mythological, religious and linguistic roots…and find what the people had long ago.”
Jane Ash Poitras (Robert Enright, “The Synchronic Spirit – An interview with Jane Ash Poitras”, Border Crossings, 1992)
About the artist
Christos Pantieras lives and works in the capital of Canada, Ottawa. Pantieras has completed five years of University studies, and has attained a Bachelor of Fine Arts (1996) and a Bachelor of Education (1998) from the University of Ottawa. He currently instructs Visual and Language Arts to students in grade 7 and 8, and pursues his artistic practice at the Enriched Bread Artists Studios.
Having exhibited throughout Ottawa, he mounted his first solo-exhibition at the Ottawa School of Art in January 2001. Pantieras has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council, and was recently awarded an “Emerging Artists” grant from the City of Ottawa. Preserving his culture through his artwork is not the only method Pantieras explores his ethnicity. He is an active member of the Greek traditional dance troupe of the Hellenic Community of Ottawa, and has taken upon the Directorial role for the performing group, The Odyssey Dance Troupe.
About his work
Moving beyond the boundaries of embedded family ideals and inherited ethnicity, Christos Pantieras investigates a return to the threatened nature; redefining his ancestral roots as a second-generation Greek born and raised in Canada. With a thoughtful choice of materials and crafted artifacts, rights of passage pertaining to Hellenic spirit, system, and ancestries conceptualize his work.
Candles, once lit within the Greek Orthodox Church, are reformed into symbols of ritual, heritage and preservation. Wax cups are solemn in a series of forty niches. A wax drawer awaits the equal entrustment bestowed upon its companion. Weathered trunks placed one within the other address an origin, and the unknown of an impending journey. Photo frames from family weddings are reconstructed into metaphoric landscapes as present day frames of thought renew the expectations of a past. The methodic process of production catalogues bereavement. Wax votives document a year of mourning, as the personal and spiritual gains of a passed ancestry are addressed through a ritualized recognition of loss. Integrated for their implicitness towards placement and organization, shelves, grids, and drawers reinforce that each work is an “enthimion”, the Greek word for “keepsake”.
Selected Group Exhibitions
- 1999 Techne, Karsh-Masson Gallery – Ottawa City Hall (Ottawa/ON)
- 1998 Émergence, La Maison de la Culture (Gatineau/PQ)
- 1997 Process over Progress, Enriched Bread Artists Studios (Ottawa/ON)
- Maureen Korp, Ph.D., “Enthimion”, manuscript, January 27, 2001
- Molly Amoli K. Shinhat, “Greece is the word: Christos Pantieras revisits his roots”, The Ottawa Xpress, issue 395, Thursday, 11 January 2001, p.9
- Michael Olson, “Exhibit offers food for thought”, The Charlatan, Thursday, 26 October 2000, p. 17.
- Tim Querengesser, “The process of art”, The Charlatan, Vol. 29, issue 3, Thursday, 29 July 1999, p.11.
- Molly Amoli K. Shinhat, “The weight – Cultural expression at City Hall”, The Ottawa Xpress, issue 319, Thursday, 29 July 1999, p.13.