The new wing and renovated halls of the Tériade Museum in Mytilene, one of the most important museums dedicated to modern art, were opened by Lydia Koniordou, Minister of Culture and Sports. Following works of renovation, the Museum promotes the unique objects in its collection and especially the artistic editions by Tériade who collaborated for their creation with the most influential artists of the 20th century.

On the occasion of her visit to the island, the Minister of Culture met with the Mayor of the town and representatives of local authorities in the building of the Secretariat General of the Aegean and Island Policy, to be informed mainly about the damage to monuments caused by the recent earthquake. She was also shown around the Vranas Olive Press Museum by Nikos Sifounakis, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the cultural non profit society “Archipelagos”. She also visited the Theophilos Museum.

Participating in the discussion that took place in the Secretariat General of the Aegean and Island Policy were: Spyros Galinos Mayor of Mytilene, Christiana Kalogirou Regional Governor, Theodoros Valsamidis Deputy Regional Governor, Costas Astyrakakis Deputy Mayor of Culture, George Pallis Syriza member of parliament for Lesbos, Dimitris Papageorgiou Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Tériade Museum, Nikos Zouros Director of the Natural History Museum of the Lesvos Petrified Forest, Pavlos Triantafyllidis Head of the Ephorate of Antiquities of Lesvos and Meropi Frangou Head of the Department of Modern Monuments and Technical Works of the North Aegean,.

“It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to confirm that we have come to realize how many things we can achieve when there is collaboration and the good will to complement one another. This is very important and the Ministry of Culture intends to do so”, said Lydia Koniordou. Referring to the Tériade Museum she said that it is important “not just for its existing collection but for its actual philosophy. It acts as a hub, where the modern and the traditional come together. As we know, Tériade discovered Theophilos and established him. He did not separate the naïve and cultivated elements from each other, but considered them to be communicating vessels, which is extremely important both as a philosophy and an approach to art.”

Another foremost reason for her visit, as stressed by the Minister of Culture, is the issue of repairing damages suffered by the island’s monuments as a result of the recent earthquake. She mentioned that units from the Ministry of Culture had visited the areas and monuments stricken by the earthquake and that a second unit would soon be arriving. As Lydia Koniordou added, the Ministry of Culture has approved a sum of 190,000 Euros to be distributed for rescue work on Post-Byzantine monuments that have suffered the most damage: Koimisi tis Theotokou [Assumption of the Virgin] in Afalona, Zoodochos Pigi in Vrissa, Metamorphosi Sotiros [Transfiguration of the Saviour] in Megalochori, Evangelismos Theotokou [Annunciation of the Virgin] in Akrasi, Aghios Nicholaos in Plomari and Aghia Triada in Plagia.

The Minister of Culture also mentioned that she is concerned with protecting the authentic character of the Vrissa settlement which was most badly hit by the earthquake. “It is a very important inheritance that must not be lost; especially in Vrissa which has been declared a traditional settlement. We should not allow it to be bulldozed or repaired with modern materials which will destroy its aesthetics and architectural value.”

At the Tériade and the Theofilos Museums

The Minister of Culture was given the tour of the Tériade Museum by Ani Kontogiorgi, curator of the Museum’s expansion, Dimitris Papageorgiou, Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors and Stelios Daskalakis, Head of the Conservation Department of the Ephorate of Antiquities at Athens. Lydia Koniordou carefully listened to the information concerning the collection of Stratis Eleftheriadis-Tériade which includes: The “Grands Livres” that were published between 1943 and 1975 and each of them has been edited from beginning to end by a famous artist of the period (Matisse, Picasso, Chagall, Giacometti, Le Corbusier, Leger, Miro etc.). Copies of the Verve art magazine which aimed to present art as closely connected to life, providing a testimony of the artists’ participation in the events. Also included are engravings, reproductions of miniatures from medieval manuscripts, works by Theophilos Hatzimihail and more contemporary Greek artists.

Next, the Minister visited the Theophilos Museum which, in its four halls, contains 86 works of the famous popular painter, donated by Tériade to the Municipality of Mytilene.

“Tériade is one of the most important pioneers of the Modern Greek way of looking at our past, present and future. The Tériade Museum and the opening of its new wing can be seen precisely as a continuation in practice of this approach. By being here, the Museum proves that Greek culture is outgoing and contributes in the best possible way to a cultural dialogue and a broadening of our horizons, brings prosperity to the Greek land of Mytilene and in these harsh times we are going through, comes as a necessary answer” said the Minister of Culture in her speech following that of the Chairman of the Museum’s Board of Directors Dimitris Papageorgiou, who thanked all those who had worked over the years for the creation of the new museum.