As a result of her multi-ethnicity, Aurora Kastanias’ works reflect the fusion of cultures characterising our globalisation era, by approaching different emotional intelligences through a unifying one.
“I my youth I always had a hard time answering the simple question: ‘Where are you from?’ It was somewhat difficult for me to explain how my father could be Greek, British and Ghanaian, my mother Persian, and why we lived in Rome or how did I end up in a French Catholic school. I had to tell the story of my grandfather (my father’s father) who, though he was born in Soudan as his father was a tradesman in Africa, came from the Greek island of Chios. I had to explain that when he was older he was sent to work for Unilever in Ghana where he met his wife to be (my father’s mother), a mulatto Ashanti beauty queen of whom he secretly fell in love in the 30s. To that I could add with pride that my mother was 100% Persian, ‘the simple side’ I thought, until I discovered that her father’s family actually descended from the Turkic Qajar tribe originally settled in modern-day Armenia. So why was my father English? It took me a while.”
AK NOVELS often depict journeys, physical, mental and emotional. Whether long walks on city roads or international voyages, she tackles issues concerning the essence of human beings: sentiments, such as loneliness and feelings of belonging, tedium and happiness, self-contempt and self-actualisation, usually combined with the products of a rational mind and humbleness of existential quest, revolutionising concepts of time and space, life and death.
AK POEMS, written in Italian, English and French, represent a sort of diary where she notes strong-felt opinions and profound emotions resulting from everyday life and current events. She finds inspiration observing the world, from the humble clochard to the President’s speech, from a starfish stranded in the middle of the road to the physics of our observable Universe. Poems she calls Poeticles and defines as Autopoiesis of Consciousness.
AK ESSAYS, are the beginning of a new orientation or simply the natural evolution of her being, slightly diverging the focus from Humanity to the Universe as a whole, engaging in studies of physics, astrophysics and cosmology but also history, natural philosophy, spirituality and esoteric studies.
“These days I like to answer the question with a simpler yet much deeply felt, ‘From planet Earth.’ immediately adding, ‘And where are YOU from?'”
EXILIUM VITA EST
Exilium Vita Est has been Aurora Kastanias’ mantra all throughout the writing of her first published book. The idea of life being an exile inevitably leads one to ponder on our essence. Concepts of solitude and relationships lead us to reconsider our identity. Can man find harmony or peace within society? And what happens to him when he ‘exiles’ from it? Are we all united through the bounds of our race, i.e., the Human race, or are we individual particles floating around in a chaotic way? These are only a few of the existential questions that spark the author’s works and inspire her to create fantastic mental and physical journeys within material and intangible spaces, now looking for an answer in the stars.
CURIOSITY NEVER ACTUALLY KILLED THE CAT:
Why was my father english?
“My father had been sent to boarding school, just like his sisters, in England at the age of four. When he grew up he was eventually naturalised British.”
Why we lived in Rome?
“He grew up and lived in London until he met my mother. They married young and had my sister in 1976 moving to Tehran a few months later. As the revolution began in ’79 my father decided to leave the country which they both adored (lots of good anecdotes there!) and was transfered by Price Water House to Rome, where eventually I was born a year or so after.”
How did I end up in a French Catholic school?
“When he switched job and moved to FAO, my parents searched for schools and came to the conclusion that a then girls-only Catholic nun-run private French school should do the job in raising honorable respectable ladies and ended up enrolling us at the Institute Saint Dominique. Luckily for me a few years later the school opened-up to boys!”
[Featured painting: Written in Particles and Waves by Regina Valluzzi]