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Suffocating Caryatid, lithographic pencil on paper, 70 x 100 cm, 1978.


The “Suffocating Caryatid” was honored by a diploma at the 7th International Poster Biennale in Warsaw (1978).  This work remains relevant up to this day, despite of the years that passed since its creation.


The theme of this Biennale was “Cultural Heritage and Contemporary Civilization”, while one of the most relevant issues at that time was the serious gas pollution in Athens, which had reached catastrophic levels during the years. The substance of many ancient monuments was seriously damaged and the public opinion outside Greece was bringing pressure upon the Greek government to take protective measures, such as replacing the original statues on Acropolis with copies.


Thanks to the lithographic pencil Ι used as drawing medium, a dramatic contrasting atmosphere was created around the famous statue. Its thick trace, especially in the background, evokes the notion of asphyxiation to the viewers, making them feel as if inhaling the heavy, carbon polluted air.


Expanding Caryatid’s message in a metaphorical and symbolic sense, I would say that the issue it addresses doesn’t relate only to huge environmental and climate problems we face even today, but it mainly deals with the substance of western civilization which is founded on the ancient Greek ideals. In my opinion, most of these ideals and values are nowadays “muted” to the point of suffocation.


Keywords: smyrnios, drawing, lithographic, greek, statue, sculpture, caryatid, acropolis, athens, british, museum, pollution, gas, mask, suffocation, civilization, heritage, warsaw biennale
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