Waiting for the Barbarians: Report to Cavafy

9 April - 22 June 2013

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Kalfayan Galleries are pleased to present the group exhibition “Waiting for the Barbarians: Report to Cavafy” at the Athens gallery.

“I am Constantinopolian by descent, but I was born in Alexandria – at a house on Seriph Street; I left when I was very young and spent much of my childhood in England. Subsequently I visited this country as an adult, but for a short period of time. I have also lived in France. During my adolescence I lived for over two years in Constantinople. It has been many years since I last visited Greece.

My last employment was as a clerk at a government office under the Ministry of Public Works of Egypt. I know English, French and a little Italian.”

This short biographical note was written by Constantine Cavafy for the magazine Nea Techni (New Art) in 1924. 


This year marks 150 years from the birth of Cavafy and 80 years from his death (April 1863 and 1933 respectively).
His poetry has always been a part of the international literary community, although its influence and appreciation were never restricted to this specific circle. Numerous visual artists have derived inspiration also from Cavafy˘s poems or by his personality - a persona from another era, quite different from ours. “A bookworm exiled in the world˘s largest library” is how George Houliaras described the poet in “Literature and Exile: Notes on Cavafy” (chartis, April 1983, Athens, p. 568).
In the current exhibition, Kalfayan Galleries have chosen to present works of modern and contemporary, Greek and foreign artists, who have interpreted in their own “language” their impressions of Cavafy˘s poems, in a dialogue with manuscripts of the poet and first editions of his poems. Different artistic means, different temperaments, different attributions, all influenced by his poetry. In other words, this is where the magic of Cavafy˘s poetry lies; the reader has the opportunity to discover and therefore feel through the poems various social and historical situations, which the poet either experienced or researched.



Participating artists: Emmanouil Bitsakis, Anna Boghiguian, Aikaterini Gegisian, David Hockney, Konstantin Kakanias, Nina Papaconstantinou, Dimitris Tataris, Nanos Valaoritis.