Who is Antonis Kioukas?

Director ∙ Writer ∙ Cultural Curator

Mykonian by blood and by love for the island, internationally acclaimed director Antonis Kioukas is a
driving force in the effort to preserve and revitalise art and culture on Mykonos.

“The myth of Mykonos was shaped in the mid-20th century by that particular mix of affluent tourists, intellectuals, artists and aesthetes who in their search for the ‘beauty that will save the world’, found Mykonos and declared it a heaven on Earth,” explains director Antonis Kioukas, whose love of art and culture rivals his love of Mykonos.

The unique synergy between the island’s poor, largely uneducated, rustic population and the free-spirited, creative and joyfully open-minded new arrivals created a unique culture and way of life shaped by extraordinary individuals, including Luis Orozco and Le Corbusier, Stavros Xarchakos and Yehudi Menuhin, Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier, Jackie Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis, and a host of other artists, aristocrats and maverick cosmopolitans.

I make films about the people of this island…

“Art was ubiquitous on Mykonos during those decades,” Antonis says, “but then things slowly started to change.” An artist himself, with multiple accolades for his film work both in Greece and abroad and with over three decades of experience in planning and managing major cultural events, Antonis has worked for years to preserve the island’s cultural and artistic spirit. He was instrumental in founding Mykonos Art Festival, has organized numerous concerts and events on Mykonos and the neighbouring sacred island of Delos, and, since 2011, has run Cine Manto, an open-air cinema and art space in the heart of Mykonos Town that is both a celebration of the island’s artistic and cultural legacy and a force carrying this spirit into the future. Not least, Antonis has been documenting the island’s unsung heroes, the everyman guardians of its traditions and authentic way of life.

Art was ubiquitous on Mykonos during those decades, but then things slowly started to change.

“I make films about the people of this island,” he explains, “people who won’t make the history books but who have, quietly and unintentionally, indelibly marked the course of this place with their generosity of spirit.” Endlessly inspired and enchanted by Mykonos, he doesn’t hesitate to share his discontent at the loss of that golden age of cosmopolitan bohemianism, of boundless creativity and freedom of spirit and of mind—but most importantly, he doesn’t hesitate to imagine a world of new possibilities. “My dream is Delos,” Antonis says of his ambitions to establish a new cultural institution. “Europe’s largest archaeological site with its unique humanist and cosmopolitan heritage. Delos, the birthplace of light!”

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