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When an exhibition comes to an end various feelings prevail. At first, you have to prepare yourself -without ever succeeding- to say goodbye. It’s like saying farewell to people you love and you hope to meet again soon, but having no certainty that this meeting will ever occur.

And then, the question remains: When the paintings leave a certain space do they take with them the glances, the comments, the joy, the wealth they have offered and the wealth they have received?

Do they really know, for example, that Christina Irene Giannacopoulou, a fourteen year-old student, wrote in the guest book: ‘I realize now that art is not a game… it’s LIFE’ (the use of capital letters is hers); that Angeliki Tamvakopoulou admired Christos Bokoros’ Myrsini: ‘What I liked about Myrsini the most was her bracelets. I also liked her face, her dress and her hair’; that her brother, Michael, stood in front of Tassos Mantzavinos’ Alexander and the dragon and said ‘What I liked the most was Alexander’s sword and the skeletons. I liked the king’s armor and the way the snake crawled around the tree. What impressed me the most was his shield and the eye on it’; that Giorgos Plagakis and his sister Panayiota asked me to email them Marilitsa Vlachaki’s painting Shall we dance? and in their writing it felt like they were dancing: ‘This painting is about dance. We realized we liked it when we noticed the way the painter was inspired to paint it. We admired how he created people’s faces. The shadows and the tree leaves put emphasis on nature. Seeing this painting is like hearing magical sounds by the musical instruments, the birds singing and the leaves rustling. We thank you for emailing it to us. We hope that you will host more exhibitions like this in the future. And, why not, even our own exhibition in a few years. With love, August 10th, 2013’; that little Eleni Kourtidi-Stratigi, on a rainy day in November, remembered the painting she had seen in the summer and cried: ‘Joy, heat, beautiful green! It’s ok that they are naked. Can we swim in the painting?’; that the students of the 5th Primary School wrote a page long letter about their experience at the Gallery and requested twice (the second time in brackets): ‘We, the students of the 5th Primary School ask you to inform us of any other exhibition you host (to inform us) and we believe that, with our teachers’ support, you should know that it will be our pleasure to visit the Gallery again’; that the same children, with great consistency, filled in the questionnaire given to them as a follow-up activity; that the students of Second Chance School developed an exceptional dialogue with the works of art, and that nursery children ‘discovered’ feelings through the paintings? Leaving the Gallery, do the paintings carry with them all this wealth?

The exhibition ‘The `80s Generation – Contemporary Greek Painting from the Sotiris Felios Collection‘ will by open till November 20th, 2013. The last tour is scheduled for Wednesday 20 November at 6 p.m.

Dr. Georgia Kakourou Chroni
Curator of the National Gallery

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