“Devoted to the preservation of the traditional byzantine art”: A quality fine arts exhibition in New York


A special event was attended by academics, artists, businessmen and politicians, at the individual fine arts exhibition of the distinguished iconographer, Miltiadis V. Afentoulis, entitled “Devoted to the preservation of the traditional byzantine art”, which took place, under the auspices of the President of the Club for UNESCO of Piraeus and Islands and Member of the Executive Board of the World Federation of UNESCO Clubs, Centers and Associations, for Europe and North America, Mr. Ioannis Maronitis, on Sunday, May 15th  2016 in the afternoon at the Archdiocesan Hellenic Cultural Center in Astoria, N.Y.

The event was co-ordinated and presented by the Press Director of the Club, Despina Afentouli, who was also the curator of the exhibition. Referring to the lifetime artwork of the iconographer, Ms. Afentouli screened a video, accompanied with sounds of the international fame musician Chris Spheeris, where the personal relation of the artist along with the art of the byzantine iconography was presented, from the first years of his life – at the art studio of the iconographer and his father Vasileios – up to nowadays. The social activities of the Club were also screened.

Mr. Maronitis stressed that “Mr. Afentoulis is a unique case of a fine artist and researcher at the same time, where he analyses and promotes the byzantine iconography, with unique creations. We consider that it is our duty to support this attempt, because we believe that in this way we offer a national work, since Mr. Afentoulis’ artwork is an ambassador of Greece and of the huge cultural heritage at international level. At this context, we are arranging group fine arts exhibitions in Romania and Russia this summer and in China in 2017.”

As a gesture of recognition of Mr. Afentoulis’ artwork, Mr. Maronitis accredited him with an award for his “dedication to the Byzantine art and its spread internationally”, while he invited the member of the Hellenic Parliament – Piraeus B district and president of the Friendship Group with the Parliament of the United States of America, Evi Karakosta, and the Consul-General of the Republic of Cyprus, ambassador Vassilios Philippou, for the award ceremony.

At her greeting, Ms. Karakosta, highlighted that the preservation of the Greek language and our cultural heritage are of great importance for the preservation of our national identity and activities, such as this fine arts exhibition, contribute decisively towards this direction: “With Mr. Afentoulis, we had met to another fine arts exhibition in Greece some time ago and I am glad that through the traditional byzantine art, he flourishes abroad too. Other countries are financially strong, Greece, however, has a lot to offer through culture and Mr. Afentoulis spreads the byzantine culture to the other side of the Atlantic and not only there.”

Mr. Philippou, at his greeting during the event, congratulated Mr. Afentoulis “for his pluralistic presence at the religious activities, for his love toward Orthodoxy, for his love towards Jesus Christ” and wished him to be strong and all the best.

The inauguration of the exhibition followed, while the attendants had the opportunity to be toured to the exhibition and talk with the artist.

Amongst others, the event was graced with the presence of the director of the Direct Archdiocesan District Office of Education, M. Makedon, the president of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York, P. Galatoulas, the President of the Greek Children’s Fund, G. Kitsios, the president of Nysirian Society, Y. Konstantinidis, presidents of the parish councils of Saint Dimitrios Church (Astoria), Emm. Dritsas, Saint Peter’s the Apostle Church (Bronx), M. Artoglou, and Holy Trinity Church (Staten Island), G. Theodorakis, businessman, S. Zervoudis, professor of Queen’s College and poet, N. Alexiou, professor of SUNY, G. Maninakis, director of the Greek afternoon school of Saint Dimitrios Astoria, T. Kokkinos, director, G. Katomeris, journalist F. Papagermanos, and director D. Evaggelidis.