VCA graduating artist Demi Kromidellis on exploring cultural heritage through photography

Demi Kromidellis. Image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti.
Demi Kromidellis. Image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti.

Demi Kromidellis is a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Visual Art) student employing photography to explore themes of identity, belonging, and her enduring connection to Greek culture. Her latest photographic series will debut at the 2023 VCA Art Grad Show and invites viewers on a visual journey connecting the past, present, and future. We spoke with Demi about her practice and plans for the future.

My work is a photographic series focusing on migration, navigating changing environments, and belonging. It acknowledges Greek cultural practices passed down through generations while exploring how they can endure for future generations.

My grandparents have always inspired me. They selflessly migrated to Australia not only to improve their own lives but also to create a better future for generations to come. I've often wondered what made them feel connected to Australia and gave them a sense of belonging here.

As they passed down their cultural identity through stories and belongings from Greece, I realised that what I received was a somewhat diluted version of the rich Greek culture they were trying to show and describe to me.

All their primary sources of their heritage are filtered down to me, prompting contemplation on the limited understanding my future children may have about Greek culture. This contemplation drives my photography.

Demi Kromidellis. Image credit: Gregory Lorenzutti.

My artistic approach is shaped by my Greek heritage, drawing upon the traditional practices of the Greek community and how they have been adapted to suit the Australian context. I derive ideas for my practice from the stories and wisdom passed down by my parents and grandparents. My goal is to reinterpret these influences in a modern light.

After graduation, I plan on enrolling in the Honours Degree in Fine Arts at the VCA. I also want to travel to Greece and explore the villages where my grandparents were raised. Visiting their homeland will provide me with valuable insights into their life and experiences, further informing my recent photographic investigations and my practice.

The value of art lies in its ability to convey personal thoughts and ideas without words. Depicting my thought processes related to my upbringing in a visual way holds significance to me. It is crucial for artists to express their own conceptual ideas because it provides people with alternative perspectives on life.

You can view Demi's work at the 2023 VCA Art Grad Show on display from 23–30 November at the University of Melbourne Southbank campus. Open between 11am–5pm daily. Plan your visit.

Discover the Bachelor of Fine Art (Visual Art) at the University of Melbourne