A decade after the launch of China’s proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Greek painter Barbara Gerodimou, in her colorful studio in the coastal city of Marathon, near Athens, said she breathes the fresh air through the window the project opened. for Greece and for the world. “If there was no initiative, we should look for something like this. It’s the right time and it’s something that should become reality,” she said.
For Gerodimou, creating links and bringing people together through large infrastructure projects that support common development and prosperity, through commercial and cultural exchanges, is the only way to promote understanding and cooperation. “I think the initiative perhaps plays the most important role in promoting peace, including global peace, because it is a foundation and establishes the pillars,” she said.
Greece’s largest port, Piraeus, plays a fundamental role in the ICR due to its geostrategic position and has become a symbol of cooperation beneficial to all. The site was completely transformed after investments from the Chinese COSCO Shipping. The project significantly benefited the local economy and society, which suffered greatly during the severe debt crisis between 2009 and 2018.
Gerodimou, who studies and admires Chinese culture, is happy with the increase in dialogue in recent years between China and Greece, two countries with ancient and rich civilizations. In her latest work, she portrayed on screen this dialogue between Asia and Europe, East and West, in a painting about the ICR, the modern Silk Road.
A Chinese girl (the inspiration is the 9-year-old daughter of her Chinese friend and student), who symbolizes the Chinese-led initiative, invites viewers to look to the future, where the port of Piraeus will play a leading role.