Become Greek again
One question which one can reasonably set to Efthimios Varlamis is not «what he is » but «what he is not.» His CV is minimal, however, those who know him speak highly about him because they have formed their own opinion and not without a reason. For them he is a polymorphic type of Renaissance artist, who beyond his architectural occupation, painter, writer, designer, educator, «fanatic» Greeks, he believes in the universality of Hellenism and the catalytic role it can play in the shaping of global affairs.
Born in 1942 inVeria, he studied at the School of Architecture in Viennaand taught at various European universities and academies. In 1988 he directed the department of Architecture at the Summer Academy in Salzburg, where he presented his theory of «Automation» in architecture and design.
He held a series of experimental research programs such as «Santorini, International Ecological Academy, organized in cooperation with the European Union and universities all over Mediterranean.
In 1995 he painted 12 paintings from the Book of Revelation in the celebration of the Ecumenical Patriarchate of 1900 years since its writing in Patmos.
He was nominated for the Prize “Kyoto 2002 «in the arts and philosophy.
For more than 10 years he had been devoted to the great illustrations project of “ALEXANDER 2000” and created more than 1,500 works for Alexander the Great, which were presented for the first time in 1997 in Thessaloniki, with the support of the private entrepreneurs and the municipalities of Northern Greece.
In 1998 the expedition moved to Athensin collaboration with the Municipality of Athens and right after in Chania, Nafplion, Rhodes, Veria, Komotini and Xanthi under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence and the blessing and support of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew.
Received by Pope Benedict XVI
Efthimios Varlamis on March 16 Efthimios Varlamis, was received by the Pope of Rome Benedixt XVI in order to deliver personally a large portrait, measuring 2.00 × 2.00 m, which he painted for His Holiness.
During this personal visit, which was held with the blessings of the Ecumenical Patriarch, His All Holiness Bartholomew and The Archbishop of Athens and all Greece His Beatitude Hieronymos, Professor Varlamis handed to the Pope a folder containing pictures of over 50 of his artworks which are included in the “Circle of Christ”, along with an invitation to present them worldwide.
«For a long time I was reluctant to paint themes referred to faith, because the Orthodox icons are an integral part of the divine Liturgy,» said among others the renowned artist, whose paintings in recent years, are increasingly mentioning in Christian themes. “Given the fact that I had to look after the growing signs of faith that they are in declining condition”, he says “I have been encouraged through my work to make my faith publicly known. Thus the first Circle which came up in that way was presented in 2005 titled “I Believe” in Viennaand Dublin”.
The large portrait of the Pope of Rome Benedict XVI, Varlamis painted it in combination with his multifaceted exhibition «The New Vision» at the State Museum St. Polten in 2007, where he tackled the issue of addressing the internal and spiritual protection against terrorism and disasters.
The «Circle of Christ» includes more than 50 tableaus of two metres high, painted by Varlamis so as to capture the overwhelming meeting of human beings and Christ, as well as serve as a reminder of the importance of our European tradition. These paintings, made by Varlamis, where handed at the disposal of the Pontiff, along with a request to be placed in a moving exhibition which will commence its worldwide journey from Rome.
However, the activities of Efthimios Varlamis do not stop there. His book, published by IANOS, includes 20 narrative short stories –and probably some elements of his own autobiography- written back since 1960’s up today, setting the neat lines of our race’s attributes. Title of that book: «Become Greek again!