Illustrating Iris - Q+A with Artist Natalie Rompotis

You describe yourself as a self-taught artist. Can you tell us a bit about that and about how you developed your own particular style? I have had an interesting and somewhat unorthodox journey to becoming an artist as I have not formally studied the creative arts. For as long as I can remember I have loved to immerse myself in painting and illustrating.  My university studies however lead me to a career in law, and I worked as a commercial litigator for a number of years. Although I still created when I had the time, it was only when I took a career break with the birth of my children that my passionate hobby was to become my professional calling (a happy accident!). I’ve taken the time to e

Garum - A Roman Fishy Business

When people imagine what the Romans ate, they often conjure images of roasted chickens smothered in spices, suckling pigs on giant platters, ostrich eggs for breakfast or some other exotic delicacy that showcased the power and influence of the Empire. Film and Pop-Culture reinforce these perceptions with portrayals of toga clad guests attending lavish banquets. What they don’t mention is that on almost every Roman table, and in almost every dish was a pungent fish sauce called garum. People’s surprise quickly turns to revulsion when they discover how this sauce was made, and given that it was used in everything from entrees to desserts, its popularity has no modern equivalent. So, what is ga

Odysseus - A Man of Many Faces

From the beginning the Greeks’ poetry was intended to be sung or recited. The subject was myth—part legend, part folktale, part religious speculation and partly based on the shadowy memory of an era before the Greek adoption of writing circa seventh or eighth century BCE. People in Homer's day had no access to the sort of historical records on which we today depend, especially regarding the period when Agamemnon supposedly led the Greeks to Troy. That is because a long dark age of unrest and illiteracy (1100-800 BCE) separated Homer's audiences from Achilles and Odysseus and the world embodied in Homeric myth. It was thought for many years the stories were written by a single poet; other sch

Claiming the Now - Discovering the Greek Fringe Fest

Can you tell us bit about the Greek Fringe Fest (GFF) and how the concept came about? The GFF concept is the brainchild of Christina Bacchiella and Con Kalamaras, we both worked together on the Melbourne Rebetiko Festival and have since co-produced a series of online vocal workshops with singers from Greece and Cyprus. The GFF is a movement that will expose Greece and its booming arts scene and promote diasporic art across various forms of media. Though the theme is Greek, the festival aims to attract people who appreciate contemporary art and culture, regardless of their heritage. Greek Fringe Fest is all about unveiling independent artists who are not afforded the attention they deserve. O

Leonidas: A Hero for Our Time?

Marble hoplite statue, thought to be Leonidas, 5th c. BCE, Archæological Museum of Sparta. Leonidas – meaning Lion Like - is a name that resonates with many. Leonidas was born in about 530 BCE, in Sparta, which was at the time a strictly controlled militarised society with a structured social system. He was brought up within Sparta’s unique educational system of the agōgē which had practices and training dedicated to the development of elite warriors. These practices included vigorous military drills, weapons training, athletics and hunting. Endurance and competitive games were important because most were group activities, demanding loyalty to and sacrifice for the collective. The ultimate p

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