Y residency is located in Gyzi, just a 15-min walk away from the center of Athens. Gyzi used to be a traditional middle-class Athenian neighborhood, with a buzzing local economy and a rapid construction boom. During the last years of the economic crisis it underwent a large scale transformation.
The majority of local businesses shut down, numerous private spaces remain vacant showing signs of decay. Also, the composition of the local population has changed, since the neighborhood has been increasingly inhabited by a large number of low-income immigrants from very diverse national and cultural backgrounds.
The area derives its name from Nikolaos Gyzis (Greek: Νικόλαος Γύζης, pronounced [ɣizis]; 1 March 1842 – 4 January 1901), who was considered one of Greece’s most important 19th-century painters. His life and work is a characteristic example of artist mobility.
Gyzis was born in the island of Tinos, one of the six childs of Onoufrios Gyzis, a carpenter. In 1865, having won a scholarship, he went to continue his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Munich.
He completed his studies in Munich in 1871 and the next year, he returned to Athens and used the family house as his studio. Together with Nikiforos Lytras, he travelled to Minor Asia in 1873 and later to Paris. Today, he is considered to be one of its most characteristic representatives of the Greek artistic movement of the Munich School.