A Greek flag in pink colors exhibited in the Greek consulate of New York has caused anger in Athens with Foreign Minister Giorgos Gerapetritis ordering the artwork to be withdrawn.
With this work, the consulate said that the artist raises awareness through her handmade flag weaved from bedsheets donated to her by abused women.
“This work of art is created from sheets donated by women living in Greece. These women seemingly have little in common, but they are all lying on these sheets desperate and scared,” says the description of Georgia Lale’s exhibition.
The pink flag was withdrawn immediately after the intervention of Gerapetritis. “As an individual and as an academic, I support the freedom of art and expression, even when it is sharp and aggressive,” Gerapetritis told Skai radio.
He emphasized the issue lies in the context of the exhibition, stating, “I would accept having this specific artwork in a museum, gallery, or at home. However, we are talking about the display of an artwork at the Greek Consulate in New York. This represents the core of the state and the image of Greece abroad.”
“The consulate is obliged to uphold the emblems and symbols of the country intact, serve the expatriates, and maintain a neutral character. It is not a gallery or an exhibition space,” he added.
Right-wing in Greece angered by Greek flag in pink
The issue was initially raised in the Greek Parliament by the head of the right-wing “Niki” party, Dimitris Natsios, who pointed out that “this rag was presented to the Greek Consulate General yesterday as our flag. The only color that blue and white accepts is red from the blood of our heroes,” he said.
Main opposition leader Stefanos Kasselakis blasted the government for giving in to the extreme right. “Art is even allowed to ‘play’ with the colors of national symbols when it wants to convey a message—from its opposition to racism to domestic violence,” he said.
“I don’t expect Mr. Gerapetritis to appreciate art, but at least he should leave it alone,” Kasselakis said.
The New Left Party which was recently formed from former SYRIZA rebels said, “The government constantly succumbs to the pressures of the extreme right. We must not allow it. We are with Georgia Lale. We are with art. We are with the women.”
Greek flag in pink symbolizes the victims of femicide
Georgia Lale spoke of a “misinterpretation of her work” after the decision to withdraw her pink Greek flag.
In a statement to ANT1, she said: “I am sorry that my work was misinterpreted. The victims of femicide and domestic violence are heroes in the fight for the right to life and freedom in Greece and worldwide.”
During the presentation of her art at the Greek consulate of New York, she referred to the many victims of femicide in Greece in recent years, including the 2020 killing of Caroline Crouch by her husband, confessed wife killer Babis Anagnostopoulos. He initially claimed she was killed by a gang of foreign burglars who broke into their home. He later confessed to strangling his wife.