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Seferis in the spotlight at the Theocharakis Foundation


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Portrait of Seferis by Sotiris Sorongas

POETRY AND ART join forces in an outstanding exhibition at the B&M Theocharakis Foundation, which pays homage to Greek poet and Nobel Laureate George Seferis. The exhibition entitled ‘When the light dances, I speak farely. George Seferis and his poetry via painting and photography’, will be inaugurated on November 8 by the President of Greece, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and runs till January 21. This is the third part of an exhibition series at the Theocharakis Foundation which focuses on Greek poets. (Kicking off with Elytis in 2011, the foundation later presented Kavafis in 2013.)

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‘Midday’, by Kostas Papanikolaou

The current show is curated by Takis Mavrotas, Director of the Art Programme at the Theocharakis Foundation, in collaboration with Panayiotis Roilos – Professor of Modern Greek Studies, and Comparative Literature in the Departments of the Classics and Comparative Literature, at Harvard University, who also holds the ‘George Seferis’ chair at the university (founded 40 years ago).


‘Hydra IV’, by Alexis Veroukas

Mavrotas writes in the catalogue: ‘Beyond their formalistic differences, paintings, sculptures and engravings bare witness in this exhibition, to the truth of their subject-matter, with their own unique dominant or subtle poetic dimension. Forty Greek artists, with imagination and vigour, share their creativity with the poetry of Seferis. Artists who use their talent to see further, and to go deeper into the poetic language, more directly and in many cases, with originality.”

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‘Athina and Artemis’, by Theofilos

The exhibition includes Seferis’ original writings, first editions, as well as his Nobel Prize for Literature, which he was awarded in 1963. (He was the first Greek poet to be honored with this award.) You will also see art works by Seferis, as well as his black-and-white photographs. Also included are illustrations that have accompanied his poetic works, by artists such as Yiannis Moralis, Tassos, Yiannis Tsarouchis, Giannis Psychopaidis. Seferis’ critiques of the works of Panayiotis Zographos (1790-1840 or 1843), and Theofilos Hatzimichael (1870-1934) are also included, plus the artists’ works. Furthermore, art by many more modern and contemporary Greek artists who have been inspired by his poetry also make up this exhibition: Adamantios Diamantis, Spyros Vasileiou, Nikos Hadjikyriakos-Ghika, Yiannis Moralis, Yiannis Tsarouchis, George Sikeliotis, Panayiotis Tetsis, Basil Theocharakis, Christos Carras, Kostas Tsoclis, Alekos Fassianos, Sotiris Sorongas, Michalis Makroulakis, Thodoros Papayiannis, Alekos Levidis, Platonas Rivellis, Apostolos Fanakidis, Giannis Psychopaidis, Vicky Tsalamata, Vana Xenou, Yiannis Adamakos, Stephanos Daskalakis, Aprhodite Litti, Michalis Arfaras, Thanassis Makris, Christos Bokoros, Eduardo Sakayian, Nikos Tranos, Kostas Papanikolaou, Manolis Charos, Alexandra Athanasiadi, Giorgos Rorris, Alexis Veroukas, Lida Kontogiannopoulou, Aspasios Haronitakis, Venia Behraki, Vassilis Selimas.

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‘Blue Alexandra’, by Giorgos Rorris

George Seferis (1900-1971), was actually the pen name of Georgios Seferiades, who apart from his poetic career, was also a diplomat in the Foreign Service. At the peak of his career, he served as Ambassador to the UK (1957-62). Seferis was born in Urla, near Smyrna in Asia Minor, and moved with his family to Athens in 1914. He studied law at the Sorbonne. In 1922, the Asia Minor Holocaust meant that he would not return to his birthplace until 1950. In 1963 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature “for his eminent lyrical writing, inspired by a deep feeling for the Hellenic world of culture”. His moving poems, translated into English by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard, capture the essence of what it is to be Greek, probing the roots of Greek culture and history, but at the same time not failing to take contemporary Greek poetry further.

• Open every day 10am-6pm. The B & M Theocharakis Foundation is on the corner of 9 Vassilis Sophias Ave. and Merlin St. (nearest Metro stop: Syntagma). Tel: 210-361-1206.

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