My essentials: Jo Dounis’s cultural picks

No 40 | Jo Dounis, Contemporary Artist

1. Book

I find myself with little time to read books these days, although I read avidly when I was younger. One of my favourite authors was Paolo Coelho who, besides being a captivating storyteller, has an extraordinary insight into the human psyche in a world full of possibilities. ‘The Alchemist’, one of my all-time favourites, while entertaining to read, teaches us that sometimes, our quest to follow our dreams leads us back where we started, to something that was right there all along.

2. Film

I recently came across a very short film called ‘Sorry’. It was filmed in Albania in 2020. It’s about a young boy who is late each day for school and gets punished. Even though it is a silent film set to music, it touched me to the core and brought tears to my eyes. It teaches human kindness, understanding and forgiveness (the begging and the giving of it). It also teaches us not to be so quick to judge others.

3. Internet 

On Instagram, I regularly follow David Popa, an incredible American artist based in Finland. He paints, often in extreme weather conditions, huge portraits on the surfaces of remote locations, like islets or floating ice, in the Nordic region, using natural pigments such as charcoal, earth pigments and ground shells. His works blend with the surface and become one with the landscape. Unfortunately, they usually get washed away, but each piece is documented by drone, from beginning to end, as he works.

4. Music

One of my all-time favourite albums and one which I still listen to, is Elton John’s ‘Elton John’ album released in 1970. The reason I love it so much is that most of the lyrics, written by Bernie Taupin, are sheer poetry. Even if you don’t listen to the music and just read the words, you can’t help but be transported into the scenario being sung about. My favourites are ‘The Greatest Discovery’ and ‘First Episode at Hienton’.

5. Place

I love to travel and have been fortunate enough to visit many exotic and distant parts of the world. I am more attracted to the natural scenery of a country than to its cities, and since I have never been to Iceland, it is presently at the top of my bucket list, though I would want to visit in the summer. It is described as the New Zealand’s twin with its lakes, caves, fjords, glaciers, waterfalls and beaches… a veritable feast for my camera.