Biennale of Western Balkans

Maria Varela, Konstantinos Gkarametsis, Iason Pantazis

Maria Varela, Konstantinos Gkarametsis, Iason Pantazis
July 30, 2021
to September 2, 2021
Mergentaler street gallery / online
Curators: Aartemis Papageorgiou, Mariana Ziku, Elli Leventaki, Katerina Zachou

The three projects have been initiated during the Art Pluriverse, an annual Community Science series of the Biennale of Western Balkans, aiming to uplift intangible cultural heritage and empower textile communities of practice in the Balkan region, by documenting their artistic heritage and traditional knowledge in open, educative and participatory ways.

Cover photo background: CC BY-SA Christos Kotsinis, Markos Karellas - Biennale of Western Balkans

Maria Varela: All the birds (2021)

The artwork is the collaboration of the artist Maria Varela with the women’s community Di Moulieri (from women in the Vlach dialect) in the creation of a hand weaved cape. The women chose their favorite patterns from their woven dowries. The patterns are called “birds” in Metsovo. Combining all the traditional birds, a new unique design was formed, which narrates the stories of all the women who participated in its creation. This new design was woven in a cape inspired by men’s traditional clothing. The women wear the traditional men’s cape decorated with designs woven by their mothers for them and are photographed in the alleys of Metsovo.

Maria Varela works as an artist focusing on the creative applications of new technologies, textile data visualization and production in collaboration with women’s communities. She has presented her work in numerous exhibitions in Greece and abroad. In 2021 she was awarded with the Selected Award by the Taoyuan Museum of Fine Art in Taiwan.


Konstantinos Gkarametsis: Text _( f ) _iles (2020)

in collaboration with the Rizarios Crafting School

The project  Text _( f ) _iles explores the possibilities of traditional grids and motifs through the aspect of the digital matrix, aiming to create a connection between digital and physical craftworks. Inspired by retro computer games, pixel art, social media imagery and traditional embroidery patterns the project consists of a series of HTML and CSS code typed into text-files. The web browser reads the files, renders and translates the text into visible images. As the browser reads an algorithm to create content, similarly a craftsperson reads and translates an algorithm to create a new craftwork.

Konstantinos Gkarametsis aka GRAAM is a multidisciplinary visual artist, designer and educator. He holds an MFA in “Digital Arts” from Athens School of Fine Arts.


Iason Pantazis: Art Pluriverse Virtual Space (2020)

in collaboration with the Architecture School of Ioannina

Students of the Architecture School of the University of Ioannina have designed a Virtual Meeting Space for the exhibition Art Pluriverse of the Biennale of Western Balkans within the framework of the course “Spatial Representations – Digital II -Team B”. The participants conducted a thorough research on the form and meaning of the symbols featured on Balkan textiles and designed avatars, patterns and spaces based on dipoles of these symbols.

Iason Pantazis is principal architect at Topotheque Design Studio and currently teaches at the Architecture School of the University of Ioannina. He is the director of the Digital Innovation Hub Fab Lab Ioannina and Head of Spatial Design at the Biennale of Western Balkans. Iason holds a Master of Science in Advanced Architectural Design from Columbia University in New York as a Fulbright Scholar.