Golfo’s bold and colorful style is widely recognized with her work featured in private and public collections around the world. She is a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and serves as a member of the Arts and Letters Committee with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Centre for the Hellenic Studies of Simon Fraser University. Art, however, is only a small piece of Golfo’s fascinating story
First and foremost Golfo is a wife (recently celebrating 46 years of marriage), a mother (of five) and a grandmother (including a set of triplets). Born in Nafpaktos, Greece Golfo came to Vancouver in 1970 as a young bride. Golfo has not always painted but she has always created.
“ I have an ability for drawing and crafts and felt drawn from a young age to design and create. My passion lies in capturing life’s moments wherever I am and I experiment with a variety of painting including acrylic, watercolors, and oil to share what I see.”
With all the interest in the newest royal couple, Golfo shared her connection with a royal couple too, Prince Charles and Princess Diana. In 1986 at the Vancouver Expo Golfo’s floral designs adorned the Royal Suite during the Royal Couple’s Expo 86 visit. Imagine!
“I was the owner of a well-known flower shop called Golfo’s Flowers and I participated in a competition. In the end, I was selected as the florist providing the best flower arrangements. I had no idea at the time it was anything but a competition. After I won, the government called me up and told me I would be the designer for the RH Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s suite in the Pan Pacific. Of course, my business skyrocketed from the coverage. It was a wonderful experience.”
It is quite amazing where a lifetime can lead and I wondered if Golfo ever could have imagined that she would have such an opportunity when she arrived in Vancouver.
“Through my life, I am often reminded of the advice my mother gave me. When I left my birth country to follow my husband to an unknown country where they spoke a language I didn’t understand, she said not to fear following my heart on this unexpected path but to embrace the adventures it would bring to me. Certainly, there have been many.”
Facing the unknown is a challenge many women confront. I asked Golfo if there was a key strength that she draws on when needing to move forward.
“Every woman has one and I think persistence is mine. I have always been open to new challenges. It is better to fail trying than to never have had the experience at all. We are always learning which allows us to reinvent ourselves.”
Is there something you want to learn next, I inquired?
“Acting. I have witnessed performing arts skills in a few of my grandkids and this definitely piques my interest.”
Golfo believes in giving back and using her success and connections to alleviate suffering. She supports many causes through her art but near and dear to her heart is the Mahi Society (Mothers Assisting Humanitarian Initiatives). Founded in 2012 by Golfo and created by Greek mothers wanting to create a better and healthier environment for those who find it difficult to survive under adverse conditions.
“ Mahi collects, ships and distributes used and new goods from Canada to Greece. Most recently I celebrated the blessing and grand opening of a newly constructed home full of all the latest and necessary amenities for the children and young adults with special needs in Nafpaktos. This is the first home of its kind bringing health professionals together to provide a support system. Children born with disabilities have the same rights to grow up with the opportunity for a happy life.
I asked Golfo if there was a key piece of wisdom she has gained to share with women contemplating a renewed self? She replied:
“Be fearless. Don’t create limits for yourself. The best time to make a change is now.
Reinventing yourself is ageless.”
Her website Art by Golfo
Opening soon at the Art Couture Gallery on Marine Drive in White Rock, BC