Xanthopoulou Ritual skirt for the worship of a cat Goddess

Ritual Skirt for the Worship of a Cat Goddess by Terpsichori Xanthopoulou

ARTIST BIO

Born in Thessaloniki. Graduate, Department of Fine and Applied Arts of the School of Fine Arts of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, 1998. BA, researcher, School of Fine Arts of the University of Barcelona, 2000. Has had solo exhibitions and participated in group exhibitions in Greece and abroad. Currently a museum artist in the Ministry of Culture and Sports, engaged with the design documentation of archaeological excavations and findings; organization of educational programs; and graphic design of brochures of archeological content, among other things.


ARTIST STATEMENT

ISIS, ASTARTE, DIANA, HEKATE , DEMETER, KALI, INANNA From Greece, I am a visual and textile artist, employing fabric and threads as my basic visual media, my experiential relationship having started early, growing up in my tailor mother’s house, where threads, needles and and remnants were everywhere - part of my everyday games.

In those 1970s and 80s women were embroidering, sewing their own clothes, knitting, etc. Houses were becoming temples of female creativity while "women's circles" took action. I later learned that these gatherings were an ancient women’s custom: exchanging designs or patters, demonstrating knowledge and materials, sharing difficult designs in embroidery and lace work, experimenting on new patterns for clothes, etc. Fabrics, fabrics, fabrics! The elders in these circles always had the respect of the whole company, they were something like ancient priestesses or oracles. Willing and tender, they always selflessly offered their knowledge to the younger ones, thus contributing to the transfer of the cultural heritage of women. Threads, fabrics, endless conversations, confessions, laughing or crying and the smell of freshly made coffee, always present like a mystical potion. The cup of Greek coffee always tied the ritual; everyone was in a hurry to finish their coffee so as to read their future in the dregs in the bottom of the cup!

After various stages I went through as an artist, looking for my personal path, I subconsciously came to the psychological security that offered me my childhood’s favorite "game". I replaced the classical visual media with ones that were considered to be "traditional". The needle and thread became the brush. The immediacy caused by the needle while penetrating the painted surface offers me relief and completion and connects me with my ancestral memory.

My love and interest in mythology and archeology led me to look for similar themes for my works. Myths from various cultures related to the connection between the thread and the female deities. Weavers - creators of the earth and the universe and the destiny of humans, are the ones that fascinate me the most. I came across prehistoric figures of the female divine from my early student years, referred to in art history books as "Aphrodites" or “fertility goddesses”. I was fascinated by them as objects of a paradoxically modern aesthetic value. More intensive study to investigate the roots of the art of weaving and its almost ecstatic relationship with women over the centuries revealed the texts of Marija Gimbutas, who gave me answers to questions that were born by realizing the existence and the similarities between the female figurines that were found in the length and breadth of the world during the beginning of human civilization and after. I continue to admire her accomplishments and the courage with which she supported her research and stood against the male-dominated scientific establishment that treated her with cynicism and depreciation. I admire her for being such a great inspiration for second wave feminism and ecology movements by introducing women to a female spirituality based on the ancient worship of the Goddess and the close bonds that women have with nature. Also for the light she shed upon the darkness and unexplored moments of history, highlighting the importance of the presence of women in human societies.

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