“Images & Presentations of the Greek-speaking world – from the 18th to the 21st Century”

George Gaitanari & Io Dolka’s Collection


Opening on Friday October 8th (at 20.00)

From Tripoli to Athens

In celebration of the 200 year anniversary since the Revolution of 1821

On the 8th of October, for the first time ever in Athens and at the MICHAEL CACOYANNIS FOUNDATION, the exhibition entitled “Images & Presentations of the Greek-speaking World  –  from the 18th to the 21st Century” will be presented with works from the Collection of George Gaitanaris & Io Dolka.

The exhibition is part of the celebrations for the 200 year anniversary since  the Greek Revolution of 1821, as the Collection is entirely related to the events of the National Polygenesis and liberation.  It is taking place under the auspices of the of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – General Secretariat of Greeks Abroad and Public Diplomacy.

The exhibition comes to Athens from Tripoli, as it is a co-organization with the Municipality of the city where it was inaugurated last June, at the Apostolopouleio Cultural Center, in order to honor the birthplace of the collectors.  There it received excellent reviews and positive feedback and was highly visited.  In fact, the President of the Republic, Katerina Sakellaropoulou and the Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis personally visited the exhibition.

The exhibition includes a total of 67 works, divided into nine sections, carrying the signatures of some of the greatest Greek and foreign artists and covers the period of artistic creation from the end of the 18th century through to today.  Among the works are illistrations in an array of techniques such as paintings, lithographs, oxygraphs, embroidery and sculpture.

In the first section the Wandering Gaze is documented with emblematic works by J. Stuart and N. Revett, famous travelers of the 18th Century.  The main core of the exhibition is  found in the second section, which refers to the period of 1821, and includes the complete, renowned series by Panagiotis Zografos, with his 24 hand-painted lithographs, in which he turned the memories of General Makrygiannis into images.  More specifically, this is the series that Gennadios ordered in Vienna 70 years after the creation of the originals which belonged to King Otto.

Highly impressive is the series of works by Reinagle of the Battle of Navarino, while  of important influence are the idealized depictions of dramatic scenes from key moments of the Struggle, but also the creation of the Modern Greek State, as created by distinguished European artists such as Delacroix, the famous Chios Massacre, Langlois, the Exodus of Messolonghi, but also Krauss, Lipparini, Vernet, De Neuville, Roberts.

In the section with the iconological reminders, the only ship series which bears the signature of Lycurgus Kogevina, takes precedence, alongside it  also  popular  folk revivals based upon unknown as well as known artists such as  Bost, covering a range of historical events.  The presentation closes with the sculpture “Suicide Helmet” by Theodoros Papadimitriou.

Talking about the exhibition, the General Director and President of the Committee of the Michael Cacoyannis  Foundation, Metaxia Tsirtavi (Xenia Kaldara), who is hosting the exhibition, gives the stigma to the Collection:  “Io Dolka and George Gaitanaris have come a long way to share with us an exhibition which depicts that which is the moral property of our people.  “Memory, emotion, retrospection provide not only  the capable and necessary conditions , but also solid dynamic tools to build the future.

The collectors, Io Dolka and George Gaitanari, who created this particular collection note:  “This effort started with an idea we had 20 years ago about the acquisition of works related to Tripoli and especially the struggle of ’21.  It gives us immense pleasure to share it with the public through the exhibitions in Tripoli and Athens, and to contribute to this historic celebration of the country 200 years since the beginning of the Revolution.  The exhibits revive crucial moments of the struggle – Germanos III of Old Patras administering an oath to the lads, the massacre of Chios, Kougi, the exit of Messolonghi, the death of Markos Botsaris, the fall of Tripolitsa, the naval battle of Navarino.  We hope that the visitors will enjoy these works and through them relive, for a while, the greatness of 1821.”

For his part, the curator of the exhibition, Constantinos Basios, a member of the Greek Section of the International Association of Art Critics, AICA HELLAS, who co-wrote the texts for the catalogue, notes regarding the exhibition: 

“This collection offers us the opportunity to see how others view us, as well as to consider ourselves.  In this sense, the collected visual artifacts are particularly powerful and interesting, insofar as their duration covers a period of four centuries.  There is, therefore, the element of correspondence:  how we are portrayed, both before the Revolution of ’21, how we would like to be recorded iconologically during the struggle, and how famous events are presented decades later.

Ultimately, this exhibition is a study on the meaning of visual culture, which is an underrated dimension, and in this context it offers generously, and partly by mediation, all those elements to form an alternative perception of the racing ethos of that time, as well as of its iconographic management in the following years.”

A multi-page album has been printed for the exhibition, the proceeds of which will be donated entirely to the Philharmonic Orchestra of the Municipality of Tripoli.

We would like to note that the Virtual Exhibition “Images and Representation of the Greek-speaking World, from the 18th Century to the 20th Century, Collection belonging to George Gaitanaris and Io Dolka, participated in the celebration of the European Days of Cultural Heritage  (European Heritage Days) 2021 “Heritage open to all!” on Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September 2021 on the website of the Foundation www.mcf.gr

The Collectors

The collectors are the couple, George Gaitanaris and Io Dolka, both Greek scientists, originating from Tripoli, now residing in the United States.  George Gaitanaris is a doctor – researcher with extensive activity in the field of biotechnology. 

In 2019 he was awarded the Prix Galien Canada, one of the highest distinctions in the field of pharmacology, recognized as the Nobel prize of pharmaceutical research.

 Io Dolka is a professional patient counselor. She is the founder of a consulting company specializing in the area of rare medical conditions and diagnostic challenges, and has guided a large number of patients to an exact diagnosis and life quality improvement.  Within her field she is recognized as a global pioneer.  Over a twenty year period, George and Io have been systematically collecting works of art from various time periods and countries.  A section of their collection refers to the Hellenic world, mainly the period of the Ottoman rule and the struggle for independence.  Their collection today includes a wealth of visual documentation, 67 of which will be shown at the exhibition in Athens for the celebration of the 200 year anniversary since the Greek revolution.

Exhibition Opening:  Friday October 8th, at 20.00

Duration:  until October 28th

Free public entrance.  Visiting hours:  Monday to Sunday 18.00 – 22.00

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation:  Piraeus 206, Tavros, 17773,  Tel:  210.3418550 www.mcf.gr

The Michael Cacoyannis Foundation is characterized as a Covid Free  space and as such demonstration of a vaccination or recovery certificate in printed or electronic form is required for entry.

For children up to 12 years old, a 24 hour negative self test is required.  For adolescents 12 to 18 years of age, either a 48-hour rapid test or a certificate of vaccination or recovery in printed or electronic form is required.

Spectators, including minors from 12 years of age upwards may enter following a mandatory demonstration of the following:

a)  certificate of vaccination, in accordance with par. 2 of article 10 of sub-no. 1, or

b)  certificate of recovery issued thirty (30) days after the first positive control with validity lasting up to one hundred and eighty (180) days following, according to par. 3 of article 10 of sub-no. 1

c)  Police ID or driver’s license or passport or other proof of identity in order to carry out an identity check on the above under (a) and (b).

The above certificates (a) and (b) are displayed either in printed form, electronically  or via mobile app, which the owner or legal representative of the company (or authorized person) scans electronically through the special application of article 33 of law 4816/2021 (A’118) Covid Free GR.

Alternatively, for foreigners from a third country (outside the European Union, the persons of the previous paragraph,  check the above certificates in hard copy.

Minors aged between four (4) and eleven (11) years of age may submit a self test statement of the last 24 hours, performed by either a parent (custodian or not), or guardian, in accordance with par. 3 of article 10 of sub no. 1.  No physical presence is required by parent or guardian.