THERE are so many options for gifts these days at galleries and museums, which certainly make for a much more interesting present than your usual socks, scarves or jumper. What’s more, you also get a chance to see what’s on show in terms of exhibitions, and get to support the local art scene. (So that’s 3 in 1!). To list all the Athens galleries isn’t the aim here. Instead, the focus is mainly on the most central and easily accessible options if you were to take a big stroll, once out of Syntagma Square Station. Plus some other highlights:
Heading towards Kolonaki
Take a stop at the Ekfrasi – Yianna Grammatopoulou Gallery (9a Valaoritou St), to see the bronze, marble and wood sculptures by Kyriakos Rokos, before you pop into the Ena gallery next door. Here, you will find a whole host of small works on show that would make some very intriguing gifts. If that’s not your kind of budget (starting at 80 euros), then visit the Benaki Shop on nearby Kriezotou Street. For 15 euros or even less, there are some wonderful gift ideas here that incorporate details/designs by Greek artists – from paperweights, art books, to designer earrings. The lucky charms are also exceptional. Heading up to Kolonaki, check out the Evripides Gallery (10 Herakleitou & Skoufa Sts), where you can both enjoy the wonderful show by Savvas Georgiades (‘Women’), featuring massive colourful portraits which explore the many facets of the female persona. The gallery’s charity bazaar (part of the proceeds going to SOS Children’s Villages), includes many outstanding prints, by collaborators such as Chryssa Verghi , Christos Pallantzas, Yiannis Adamakos, plus many gifts ranging from small works to jewellery creations, arty bags, and even intricately decorated Slovakian cookies (only 3 euros). Nearby is the Skoufa Gallery (4 Skoufa St), with a show entitled ‘Ornament’, featuring works such as Nikos Alexiou’s delicate paper designs, Alexis Akrithakis’ ‘tsiki tsiki’ art, and George Hadoulis’ Matisse-inspired paintings. The gallery also has its own unique Christmas gifts for sale. More small paintings can be found at the Zoumboulakis Gallery on Kolonaki Square. More arty gifts are to be found at the the Astrolavos artlife gallery (11 Irodotou St), and the Astrolavos Dexameni gallery (11 Xanthipou St).
Other galleries in and around Kolonaki: Athens Art Space Gallery (4 Glykonos St), Argo Gallery (5 Neofytou Douka St), Gallery 7 (20 Solonos St), Ersi Gallery (4 Kleomenous St), Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery (3 Herakleitou St), Elika Gallery (27 Omirou St), Genesis Gallery (35 Haritos St), kaplanon5 (5 Kaplanon St), Medusa Gallery (7 Xenocratous St), Nitra Gallery (34 Alopekis St), Peritechnon Karteris (5 Irodotou St), Thanassis Frissiras Gallery (7 Kriezotou St), The Pulse (8 Haritos St).
Next stop, the nearby museums: The Benaki Museum (with its beautiful bar/restaurant terrace), the Theocharakis Foundation, and the Museum of Cycladic Art all have fabulous gift shops too.
If you are in the vicinity of Omonoia, head to the Cheap Art gallery (11 A. Metaxa St), where its popular Christmas show of small works by its collaborators gathers the crowds, offering affordable art for all.
The Benaki Pireos also has a large gift shop, plus its shows at the moment (Tsarouchis, Bokoros, Zouni and more), make for an outstanding art experience. The newly renovated bar/restaurant also adds to the experience!
Top to bottom: Gifts and small works at the Evripides Gallery; Painted pomegranate-shaped ornaments at the Theocharakis Foundation; Slovakian cookies at the Evripides Gallery;
In the circles: Small works at Ena gallery; gifts/lucky charms at Theocharakis; Work by Gyzis at Theocharakis; Work by Gaitis at Theocharakis; Work by Akrithakis at Skoufa; 2 seascapes by Verghi at Evripides; marble sculpture by Rokos at Ekfrasi-Yianna Grammatopoulou; Work by Papamichalopoulos at Skoufa; Work by Alexiou at Skoufa; Portraits by Georgiades at Evripides.