Panayiotis Malamellis

On Friday, June 8, The Greek Institute hosted a very successful event and reception, titled "Artistic Impressions of Mytilene: Art, Literature, and Music." An enthusiastic, capacity crowd viewed the 50-painting exhibition by Panayiotis Malamellis of Lesvos, followed by readings from the works of Myrivilis, Venezis, and Elytis by Helen Nayan, also the Master of Ceremonies, Orestes Demetriades, Mercy Alepidis, Karen Nearhos Kosko and Rhea Karabelas. Professor Nina Gatzoulis of the University of New Hampshire delivered a review of the artist's book, Pikrohamoyelo, or Bitter Laughter.The program and exhibit closed with an address by the artist and a musical improvisation -- a taxim -- by Christos Papoutsy on the santouri.

Orestes Demetriades
Mr. Malamellis, a folk artist and writer well known among Mytilenians, autographed his latest book, Pikrohamoyelo, and briefly discussed the collection of short stories about village life on the island, particularly in his hometown Vatoussa. Members of the audience were delighted with his sonorous voice and his inherent talent for drama and storytelling, qualities which are apparent everywhere in his written collection. With a straightforward, but lexically rich style, Malamellis has managed to capture a full range of island experiences, both humorous and tragic, in his Greek writings.

A sense of history and tradition abounds in all of the works of Malamellis. Just as Pikrohamoyelo reflects legends and actual events recalled by island elders, so too do his original oil paintings evoke the enduring grace and serenity of the beautiful locales of Lesvos. Viewers sense the timelessness of his village and coastal scenes. With a simple style, lightly influenced by local artistic tradition and Byzantine iconography, Malamellis has captured the essence of island living on his canvases.

The exhibition at The Greek Institute was the first of a two-day tour in the Boston area. Proceeds from the Friday evening events will benefit both the institute and the St. Nicholas Chapel walking trails and rest areas in the artist's hometown of Vatoussa, Lesvos. The Christos and Mary Papoutsy Charitable Foundation underwrote the costs of the tour.

Maria Anagnostopoulos, the Assistant Director of The Greek Institute, organized the Friday exhibition and reception, along with a committee of dedicated institute members. Located at Harvard Square, the institute aims to create a deeper awareness and understanding of the extraordinary achievements of Greek culture from antiquity to present. Individuals of Greek descent and philhellenes, all of whom are dedicated to the success of its programs and goals, govern and advise the institute. Each year the institute sponsors a number of cultural events, readings, and courses; for more information, contact The Greek Institute at 1038 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 (tel. 617-547-4770).

Christos Papoutsy

The Greek Institute

Helen Nayan and Orestes Demetriades

Rhea Karabelas

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