The Ambassador of Greece to the US, Alexandra Papadopoulou inaugurated the travelling exhibition "Hellenic Heads: George Petrides". The sculptures, inspired by six important periods of Greek history, will be on view in the Embassy’s Exhibition Hall from May 9 to June 10.
The Embassy of Greece in the U.S. is pleased to present the world premiere of the travelling exhibition “Hellenic Heads: George Petrides.” The exhibition will be on view in the Embassy’s exhibition space from May 9 to June 10, 2022.
Marking the centennial of the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, Petrides presents a personal exploration of his Greek background, seeking to understand the cultural influences that have shaped him and the people closest to him. Starting with a rigorous research process, including archaeological artifacts, academic sources, family stories and historical photographs, Petrides studied six important periods from 2,500 years ago to the present:
– Classical Greek Period (510 BC to 323 BC)
– Byzantine Period (330 AD to 1453 AD)
– Greek War of Independence (1821 to 1829)
– Destruction of Smyrna (1922)
– Nazi occupation and Greek Civil War (1941 to 1949)
– The Present
“As a Greek-American—born in Athens and having spent more than half my life in New York City—I have always been interested in my Greek roots, initially absorbing them through my family members: a grandmother who escaped the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and parents who lived through the 1940s Nazi occupation and ensuing Greek civil war,” Petrides said. “I continued studying these topics at Harvard College, where I studied Classical Greek literature, philosophy and history, as well as four visits to Mount Athos, where I was steeped in art and culture from the Byzantine period.”
Petrides’s creative process is of his own invention. He often begins by sculpting in clay from a live model or historical photographs. Next, the clay piece is scanned in 3-D, and the digital file is manipulated using sculpting software. Then it is 3D printed or CNC milled in a size that is up to two-and-a-half times life-size. Petrides then reworks the piece by hand, using power tools and construction materials. Often the sculpture is then cast in bronze in Greece, using the same lost-wax process that was used by the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago. Finally, various patinas are applied in a rich expressionistic manner.
“’Hellenic Heads’ is an artistic dialogue between the past and present, elucidating the universal character of Greek culture and its fundamental role in shaping Greek identity,” said Eleftheria Gkoufa, cultural manager.
“This travelling exhibition highlights the necessity of art and the importance of the creator in modern society and conveys intercultural dialogue through cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is key to the mutual understanding of other nations and their cultural heritage, as it examines human development through artistic creation.”
The exhibition will be open to the public from May 9 to June 10, 2022, on Tuesdays through Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.