In celebration of the 200-year anniversary of the Greek War of Independence of 1821, the unique sculptures of internationally recognized sculptor, Nikos Floros, are presently exhibited at the Museum of Traditional Hellenic Dress, Victoria G. Karelia, in Kalamata, Greece.
Many dignitaries have visited the exhibition, including recently, the President of Greece, Honorable Katerina Sakellaropoulou. Due to the popularity of the exhibition, it has been extended to the end of December 31, 2021.
From a young age, Nikos Floros had an instinctual need to express himself in various artistic media. Although he has focused mostly on sculpture, he strongly believes that “Art is One”, with integrity and unity.
The 200-year anniversary of the Greek War of Independence of 1821 was the inspiration for Nikos Floros to create a group of beautiful sculptures and mosaic portraits and to once again exhibit in Greece after several years of very successful exhibitions in Europe, the United States and the United Arab Emirates.
The artist himself is descended from a family with revolutionary leaders and heroes. His ancestor, captain Nikos Floros, fell heroically during the battle of Athens, fighting for the independence of Greece from the Ottoman Empire.
When the younger Nikos Floros walks along the street in Athens named after his ancestor, he is filled with pride and wonder.
For Nikos Floros, the recent period of lockdown was a time of increased reflection, creativity and energy. He worked tirelessly on these sculptures, which by his own admission, posed many challenges for him since the period and personalities interpreted were heroic figures and situations and with the passage of time, have come to represent ideals.
The artist conducted in-depth research on the leaders of the revolution, their history, personalities, characters, as well as the general climate of the times which led them to their actions.
The exhibition is composed of a series of sculptures, including sculptural costumes, mosaic portraits of heroes and leaders of the revolution all composed of aluminum beverage cans, using a special and original method of weaving originated and patented by Nikos Floros.
This original method was designed and patented by Nikos Floros and has come to characterize his work. The work begins with the selection of aluminum beverage cans the artist feels will best express his work, these are cut into strips which are then weaved into a beautiful vibrant “fabric” with illustrious colors.
A technique requiring a great deal of patience and skill, Nikos Floros produces the sculpture from its basic elements, a simple beverage can, and transforms them into original, beautiful and expressive works of art. Using the same basic element, the beverage can, Nikos Floros also creates amazing mosaic portraits whose expressiveness belies the simplicity and coldness of the original element.
Entering the museum, the first sculpture one sees is the sculptural costume of the heroine, Laskarina Bouboulina. A slight figure physically in reality, the artist has interpreted the outsize influence of this woman on the Greek War of Independence with a sculpture measuring an imposing two and a half meters tall.
As one proceeds towards the first exhibition room on the ground floor, a portrait of Despo Tsavela stands out amongst the traditional dresses of the Peloponnese which comprise the permanent exhibition of the Victoria Karelia Museum.
As we proceed to the right, the impressive sculptural costume of Panoraia Hatzikonsta, known as Psarokostainas, the noblewoman from Aivali.
A central role in the exhibition is held by the Greek flag which is this interpretation is not only blue and white, the traditional colors of the Greek flag. Nikos Floros has added a touch of red, as well as indicating the flag in tatters at the lower edge, symbolizing the wounds suffered to the ideals of the revolution.
Finally, three more art works inspire awe: the portrait of the Geros tou Moria as well as the portrait of Laskarina Bouboulina, both giants of the revolution, whose piercing and expressive gazes captivate those attending the exhibition.
Finally, the apex of the exhibit: Liberty. The sculptural interpretation of the ideal of Liberty, the ideal our ancestors fought so valiantly to achieve for their country. The freedom the artist encourages us to continue fighting for.
The exhibition of the works of Nikos Floros alongside the traditional dress of the permanent exhibition of the museum is complement and expand upon each other.
The permanent collection of traditional Hellenic dress is the life’s work of Victoria Karelia and the well-designed modern museum is the perfect venue for this exciting exhibition by Nikos Floros alongside the permanent collection.
Both collections have a common base of history and tradition which coexists with modernity and creativity.
The exhibition was curated by Aristotelis Karantis and the catalogue was edited by Katerina Koskina.
Russia has played a special role in the Greek War of Independence. The Filiki Etairia (Society of Friends) was a secret organization founded in Odessa in 1814 with the goal of overthrowing Ottoman rule in Greece and organized to initiate the Greek War of Independence in 1821.
The poet Alexander Pushkin was a contemporary of the Greek War of Independence and wrote quite a few works inspired by the struggle.
Nikos Floros has in turn been inspired by many of these poems and stories for his artwork. In 2022, the artworks will travel to Russia and will be exhibited in Moscow, followed by an exhibition in St. Petersburg, Russia.
The exhibition will then travel around the world, including the United States, representing Greece and the ideals of heroism, liberty and independence.
The exhibition will be open to the public until December 31st 2021 at the Museum of Traditional Dress, Victoria G. Karelia, Stadiou 64, Kalamata, Greece.