This is Irene Glinatsi: chef, hostess, singer, dancer --- in short, Goddess of Artistico!
After what might be as much as a twelve-hour a day in the kitchen, Irene will still have the staying power and sheer showbiz pizzazz at midnight and beyond, to toss aside her apron and sing to the guitar-accompaniment of her husband, George, or to lead the dancing with energy and stamina that would be envied by someone half her age.
With Greece Orthodoxy as its religion, Kalymnos, like all the Geek islands, is an essentially patriarchal culture. But the very particular history of this place - for centuries the centre of the sponge diving in the Dodecanese - has left it a uniquely matriarch-influenced society. With so many of the able-bodied men away at sea for six months or more at a time, the women of Kalymnos provided strength-giving continuity and stability to the island community…
Now, as then, men provide the figureheads in politics, religion and family life, but there is no doubting that women are still a powerhouse force: the silent (and sometimes not so silent) engine that drives Kalymnian society.
[Image: David Weeks]