I remember the first years at school, during the art class... “Would you draw me a swan here?” the children were saying to me. I was trying to show them how to do it. “No I want one like the way you do it!” they were saying. And then a flower. And a tree. And a prince… Everyone wanted something and I was touring all the desks, without never having the time to finish my own drawing. Since then, the more I grew, the more the others asked me to make them sketches. “Whatever you want, I just want to have something from you!” they were telling me. It’s unbelievable the number of drawings I have made as a “favor” to people that we even stopped talking, they even stopped remembering me, but yet a sketch is left hidden in their drawer.
“I still have this sketch you had drawn me” I heard recently by 2 old classmates that I haven’t seen since school. And I didn’t even remember I have drawn them something… Some years ago, at a store, a girl who was staring at me approached me and told me “Are you Chara? Do you remember me? We went on elementary school together.” I looked at her more carefully and I remembered that we didn’t hang out, we didn’t even talk. But her next question was “Do you still draw the way you did?” I was moved so much that someone I almost didn’t remembered so well, kept in his own memory that part from me…
At my adolescence I went to an Art teacher of the small town I grew up, Amaliada. Mr Fokas was an old man, with white hair and a beard, like a french face of an old era and he was the most inspiring art teacher I ever had. The only art teacher I had. From him I took the first lessons of how to use the shadows, how to measure with a neetle whatever I saw: Vases, flowers, boxes, fruits... I realised he distinguished me. But I didn’t believe it. Because I didn’t believe that I would go anywhere far with art and that was just a turning point for me. Eventually, it finished after 3 years, when I stopped the lessons, a little before learning how to use the colours.
Since then, I don’t know how art was left behind, how I spent arrows to wrong targets. How Nursing studies at the university came on my way and I forgot me, how I lost my real way and I stopped talking to the child in me that used to draw swans. The only thing I know is that I would have lost it forever, if it wasn’t the big A, the big inspiration. If it wasn’t my love for that voice and the desire to create a birthday present that it would be unique. That’s how I remembered again my art and my pencils and I started dedicating all my time to finish 36 portraits: symbolical number of the career years Anna had as the greatest singer of my country. Her first glance and her first smile were enough to make me want to go on drawing. And the more I was drawing, the better I was becoming.
Many years have passed since I drew princes at the drawings of my classmates. But maybe nothing has really changed about my love to draw. And now, here I am, a breath before the big dream. A breath before my first Exhibition in Cyprus. And when I’ll see my portraits there, I know that all the tiredness of all those years for the flowers and the clouds, the swans, the eyes and the hands, the shadows and the light will fly away. I know that only pride will finally come to meet me and remind me everything I am and I was close to loose.
“Do you remember when were little and we drew on the big round table of Grandma? I was so useless that I couldn’t do anything right. All the people had a hand short and a hand long. “Would you draw me a girl with a dress? I cannot make her…” I told you. “Now I can’t, later…” you told me. Your paints were on fire and you didn’t leave your paper not even for a second… “We all shine” John Lennon said and now your moment came more than ever. I am glad to look back and remember that little girl drawing with that magic hand and to realize that the passion and the soul remain vivid. I am proud of you and all those you achieved. I simply love you.” With those words, my sister moved me for a moment I had completely forgot. But she remembered it. Like the forgotten sketches in the drawers of my classmates. Like that girl from my school who remembered the way I drew, even though we didn’t even talk. It’s strange which fleeting pieces of you the others keep. I am grateful to all those that really believed in me and in what I did the moments I didn’t believe it myself. Because without all them who, like they could smell every vulnerable and hard moment, reminded me to not give up, nothing would never happen.
To Anna, I owe the awakening of the inspiration, the journey to that dream. I owe her the pushing that she gave me without knowing, with her impressed look for what I was making. Because even the smallest admiration from someone you admire so much, may be the biggest power that can be given to you, to keep on dreaming
That is the reason why my first exhibition is dedicated to her.