Greek sculptor creates protest works for the return of the Parthenon marbles

Manolis Harkoutsis sculptor

Works of art expressing the need to return to Greece the Parthenon marbles and all the ancient Greek treasures that adorn museums around the world has been created for years by the sculptor from Crete, Manolis Harkoutsis.

Recently, he created a metal sculpture in Spain, specifically in Fuerteventura of the Canary Islands, five metres high, which will be erected in a public space.

The work title is "The Wind of Return" (Viento de regress in Spanish). The form of the sculpture refers to an ancient Ionic-style column, with a capital that unfolds and spreads, "as the arts, which were born in Greece, spread all over the world", points out Manolis Harkoutsis to AMNA.

According to Mr. Harkoutsis, "Greek architecture influences architects worldwide, from the depths of the centuries until today. The British Museum itself is supported and, at the same time, adorned by Ionic-style columns. Combined with its front, the whole building reminds us of an ancient Greek temple. We see buildings influenced by ancient Greek architecture all over the Western world, even in the White House."

He pointed out at the same time that "so let them continue to utilise the intangible cultural heritage of our country and let them return the works that our ancestors, Greek sculptors, made art. In particular, let the British restore justice, i.e. return, forever, the sculptures of the Parthenon, to where they belong, in Greece."

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The sculptor Manolis Harkoutsis lives and works in the settlement of Venerato, a few kilometres from Heraklion. The main issues that preoccupy him concern archaeological treasures and nature.

A characteristic of his work is that he sets up representations of archaeological sites in public and private spaces.

"They are protest sculptures", as he says, "for the violent removal of ancient works of art from our country, for antiquities, but also for the need to protect the archaeological sites of Greece".

In 2006, he created a sculptural installation entitled "Process", which refers to the ruins of a temple. The work is made of ashlar, and the representation is so convincing that it leaves many visitors confused whether it is a modern work of art or a temple that has almost been destroyed.

One of his most characteristic works is entitled "Return", which he created in 2011. It represents an Ionic style marble column and capital, which gives the impression of falling. From then on, he creates forms that refer to unfurling capitals.

“I make Ionic columns and capitals, which are unrolled like papyri. Thus, I attempt to show the spread of Greek culture worldwide and, in an abstract sense, that the sculptures must return to where they belong, in Greece. With the return of the sculptures, i.e. with the restoration of justice, the unwrapped form will return to its place so that harmony can come," said Mr Harkoutsis to AMNA.

This is exactly the characteristic of the work he created in October in Spain as part of an international sculpture symposium. At the same time, the work also depicts the strong winds that blow in Fuerteventura. After all, the word Fuerteventura means strong wind. This is how he connects the Greek with the Spanish element.

Manolis Harkoutsis intends to visit other parts of Greece and abroad to set up in squares Ionic style columns and capitals that unfold, sculptures that will "shout" for the return of antiquities to Greece.

His works are mainly in marble and metal, small and large for public spaces.

As he pointed out, "contemporary Greek sculptors and the entire artistic world, I think we can deal more, through our art, with the permanent return of antiquities to our country. Let's all take a clear position for the restoration of justice. It is unfair that sculptures created by our ancestors, the ancient Greeks, have been violently severed from their main bodies and adorn museums worldwide, with the Parthenon sculptures number one."

Concluding, the sculptor from Crete noted that "the Western world invokes the Republic, which was actually born in Greece, the times in which the ancient sculptures were created, which were forcibly taken from our country. So in the name of the Republic, these sculptures must be returned to their natural places."

READ MORE: The British slam Rishi Sunak for canceling the meeting with Mitsotakis: “Give back the Sculptures.”

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