The Museum of Contemporary Art "Theodoros Papagiannis"

Theodoros Papagiannis was born in Ellinikon, Ioannina. Such a banal phrase, used usually to begin a biographical reference, acquires a special meaning in the case of Theodoros Papagiannis. First of all because the personality and work of the famous sculptor and professor of the School of Fine Arts have been affected in an emblematic way by his origin. The rocky and unique landscape rather favors the cultivation of art sculpture, judging by the fact that other contemporary Greek sculptors such as Giorgos Houliaras and Kyriakos Rokos also hail from there.

The mark left by the artist's origins became evident when he founded the Museum of Contemporary Art "Theodoros Papagiannis" in the village he was born in. He has this to say about his choice: "I could have given these works to a more central Museum in Athens, Ioannina, or anywhere else. But I think the best place is our village school since the works relate directly to this place. They were created by my own memories and have followed me throughout my life. They became powerful experiences that nourished my creativity." Thus, we have an artist who excelled both in Greece and abroad, with solo exhibitions in Zurich, London, Geneva, Larnaca-Cyprus and Munich, who has established a museum in his home town, Ellinikon, Ioannina.

The Museum is housed in a building that was formerly a primary school, funded by benefactor, Nicholaos Mantelopoulos. It is built by artists of the stone craftsmanship of a bygone era, to protect the sculptures inside. The building is unusually large for a village. The interior houses works whose subject are mainly related to Epirus: busts of benefactors and important people of the region, exhibits on the subjects of bread, education, benefaction, emigration, and others which, as the artist implies, are "dedicated to the humble life, the agricultural population of farmers, craftsmen and their ‘Epirotan’ mother." The office with the library and shop complement the interior of the museum.

The 7000 sq. m. courtyard hosts 20 large works of various media (brass, marble, stainless steel or iron), created by the artist himself, and others among them, K. Andreou, G. Houliaras, K. Rokos, and Ch. Riganas. These are created each summer during sculpture symposiums conducted in Ellinikon between 15 August and 10 September. At the same time the artists create a six kilometers in length path with sculptures stretching from the entrance of the village to the historical Monastery of Tsouka.

The Museum collaborates with the Department of Philosophy, of the University of Ioannina to publish its books, but also with the Departments of Folklore, Fine Arts and Art Sciences and the Department of Environment.

Theodoros Papagiannis reminds us that what is really global begins at the local level, from our roots. The coffee shops of ‘Ellinikon’ are full of drawings of local people, which the artist draws on the spot, leaving the work in the cafe where he drew it. This is the reality of a unique artist who can create with equal success the bust of General George Marshall from Pennsylvania in the United States and that of Theodoros Kolokotronis from “Libovisi , Karytena”.