George Petrides: Hellenic Heads

George Petrides: Hellenic Heads
May 9 to June 10, 2022
Embassy of Greece
2217 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,
Washington, DC

The Embassy of Greece in the U.S. is pleased to present the world premiere of the traveling exhibition Hellenic Heads: George Petrides. The exhibition will be on view in the Embassy’s exhibition space from May 9 to June 10, 2022.

Marking the centennial of the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and the bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence, Petrides presents a personal exploration into his Greek background, seeking to understand the cultural influences that have shaped him and the people closest to him. Starting with a rigorous research process, including archaeological artifacts, academic sources, family stories and historical photographs, Petrides studied six important periods from 2,500 years ago to the present:

George Petrides Life During Wartime, 2021
Natural clay, epoxy clay, metals, acids
33 x 22 inches
Courtesy of the artist

– Classical Greek Period (510 BC to 323 BC)
– Byzantine Period (330 AD to 1453 AD)
– Greek War of Independence (1821 to 1829)
– Destruction of Smyrna (1922)
– Nazi occupation and Greek Civil War (1941 to 1949)
– The Present

“As a Greek-American—born in Athens and having spent more than half my life in New York City—I have always been interested in my Greek roots, initially absorbing them through my family members: a grandmother who escaped the destruction of Smyrna in 1922 and parents who lived through the 1940s Nazi occupation and ensuing Greek civil war,” Petrides said. “I continued studying these topics at Harvard College, where I studied Classical Greek literature, philosophy and history, as well as four visits to Mount Athos, where I was steeped in art and culture from the Byzantine period.”

George Petrides Heroines of 1821, 2022
Mixed Media 33 x 22 inches
Courtesy of the artist

Pretrides’ creative process is of his own invention. He often begins by sculpting in clay from a live model or historical photographs. Next, the clay piece is scanned in 3-D, and the digital file is manipulated using sculpting software. Then it is 3D printed or CNC milled in a size that is up to two-and-a-half times life-size. Petrides then reworks the piece by hand, using power tools and construction materials. Often the sculpture is then cast in bronze in Greece, using the same lost-wax process that was used by the ancient Greeks 2,500 years ago. Finally, various patinas are applied in a rich expressionistic manner.

“Hellenic Heads is an artistic dialogue between the past and present, elucidating the universal character of Greek culture and its fundamental role in shaping Greek identity,” said Eleftheria Gkoufa, cultural manager. “This traveling exhibition highlights the necessity of art and the importance of the creator in modern society and conveys intercultural dialogue through cultural diplomacy. Cultural diplomacy is key to the mutual understanding of other nations and their cultural heritage, as it examines human development through artistic creation.”

After the Embassy of Greece in Washington, D.C., Hellenic Heads will travel to The Muses in Southampton, N.Y., where it will be exhibited from June 16 to Sept. 5, 2022. From there, it will travel to other venues in the United States and continue to European venues in 2023. Details are forthcoming and to be announced on

The exhibition will be open to the public from May 9 to June 10 on Mondays through Fridays from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Please note that the exhibition will be closed on May 16 and 17.

©2022 George Petrides, Embassy of Greece