East-West differences not so important: Greek artist

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In an era of technological advancement which has turned the world into a global village, enhanced cultural dialogues between East and West indicate that differences are not as important as similarities, Greek visual artist-composer Dean Copa told Xinhua on Tuesday.

On the eve of the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations to be held in Beijing, Copa highlighted the power of intercultural dialogue in promoting understanding between peoples.

Born in Greece, a country at the crossroads of three continents with rich cultural heritage, the young artist balances between East and West, draws inspiration from China as he looks to the U.S., and sees no differences between peoples as dialogue deepens using art as vehicle, he explained during an interview at his studio in the center of Athens.

His art works have reached New York and Paris and now he is seeking the path to bring them to the East as well, trying to enrich his knowledge about China in particular, he told Xinhua.

"I feel Eastern, half Eastern, because Greece is also part West, part East... The East has a mystery to me that the West doesn't have so much, so I would love to explore the possibilities there," said Konstantinos Papachristos, better known by his artist name Dean Copa.

"All the technologies make the boundaries look smaller and smaller. I consider us like families, the Chinese family, the Greek family. It is easier now to change perspective, lens and see humanity as a whole, easier than before...I consider us as family and I think Confucius said that under the stars we are all a big family... Our differences are not so important as we come to meet each other," he stressed.

Beyond the differences in styles of art between Greece and China, between East and West, Copa feels the links for connection are stronger than ever and cultural exchanges facilitate understanding in all fields.

"Nowadays contemporary artists start to draw elements from different civilizations, so it is easier now for me to be inspired by China more than it was for my predecessors, because I am exposed to Chinese people, Chinese art in a way that it wasn't possible before in that scale," the artist noted.

As a Greek artist he also takes a look at the past to create his syntheses that go beyond conventional painting and photography.

"We have a huge past, humongous past like China. Sometimes it is like a root for me, where I can go back and draw ideas and find connections with what I do right now, and sometimes it feels like a burden, because so many generations passed and they produced some amazing art works and way of living. It is kind of difficult to find your own space," he said.

Copa found his space in the heart of a metropolis, where he grew up, and has been exposed to the influence of people of different nationalities.

"I am an open minded person. The best vehicle I've found is my art as a tool to promote international exchanges," he explained, underlining the strength of culture in building bridges for communication.

Copa found his way even when Greece was hit hard by an acute debt crisis in the past decade, just like many other young Greek artists.

"This crisis was a very strong kicker for me to go even deeper in myself and find more meaning and power to express myself, because when you feel endangered in some way you can either withhold, close up, or you can go out even more. I think that the periods of crises do not affect art very much, as art is always a refuge," he said.

Art is a common refuge with no boundaries for people everywhere to find consolation in times of difficulty in life, he concluded. 

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