“I am a woman and this the world I can comprehend and express better. In reality, I express myself”

Efi Gousi

Every “no” helped me to move forward

Text: Dimitra Kehagia

In 2032, in ten years’ time, she would like to see humanity having taken steps forward, as a whole, in dealing with the climate change crisis. On a personal level, she dreams of directing her debut film and travelling with it in the four corners of the planet. Making a film has been on her mind for many years now, as she wants her images to obtain the quality of movement. In the meantime, she never ceases to move. An actor, a director and a photographer, in three interchangeable and complementary roles.

Efi Gousi graduated from the Drama School of the National Theater of Northern Greece. Ever since her sophomore year as a student, she had expressed her desire to turn to directing. Photography came later, as a new means of directorial expression. “I enjoy creating worlds, getting lost into them. Were the conditions in our profession different, both artistically and in terms of making a living, I might have focused solely on acting, but I don’t think things are about to get any better, at least not in the near future.”

She is constantly moving not only between different identities as an artist, but also between different cities and countries. Over the years, she had become disconnected from her birthplace, Thessaloniki. And even though Athens is now her home, her neighborhood, she finds herself spending more and more time in Paris, a city she would love to live and work on a permanent basis. She views Greece as “a beautiful place, which does not allow me though to evolve as an artist the way I wish to. That is why I take my chances abroad.”

She does her best, every chance she gets, to bring forth Greece’s beauty on an international scale, as she did through her recent collaboration with Dior. Not only were her photos selected by the famous brand, but she actually made it all the way to the cover of Dior Magazine No.36. This collaboration and the trust she received filled her with joy, but her journey has not been dreamlike all the way, in contrary to the stage appearance of Katerine Duska while performing “Better Love”, Greece’s official song at the 2019 Eurovision contest in Tel Aviv, designed and directed by Efi Gousi.

The strength drawn from difficulties has proven to be a creative force for her. That is why, when asked to give advice to the university freshmen who make their first steps towards their professional future, she stresses out that “this is just the starting point, not the finish line. These kids can become anything they set their mind onto.” She herself remembers as a child to dream of the escape from everyday life. “I mostly lived inside the images made in my mind,” she goes on to say. In her professional life, she has learnt to love all colors, with a fondness towards the brighter ones, as long there’s an empty canvas at hand.

In her works, women usually take center stage. “I am a woman and this the world I can comprehend and express better. In reality, I express myself”, she mentions. In her photos, the topics she revolves around are self-revelatory, while her favorite themes as a stage director can be traced in defenseless heroes and authority issues.

Who Is Who

Efi Gousi graduated from the National Theater of Northern Greece – Drama School, in 2008. Her pictures explore the female universe in surreal and dreamlike ways. Her work has been showcased in many collective exhibitions, in venues such as M. Contemporary – Sydney, Fondazione Luciana Matalon – Milano, International Photo Expo Paris, Mars Gallery – Tel Aviv, Mykonos Archeology Museum και Kappatos Gallery – Athens. Her published works include a collaboration with Dior, also featuring the cover of Dior Magazine No. 36 (Winter 2021). Efi has directed many theater plays, among which Lars Von Trier’s Dogville (2015) and Sarah Kane’s Cleansed (2014), as well as music shows and videos for pop stars in Greece. In 2019, she was appointed as Creative Director of the Greek participation in the Eurovision contest held in Tel Aviv.