For the second year in a row, the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation organized an event in honour of the students who distinguished themselves in the 2016 Painting Competition sponsored by the Children’s Gallery of Greece, whose theme was “Christmas.”

On 22 January 2017, 49 young artists participated in the event which took place at the NJV ATHENS PLAZA Hotel, all primary school students, along with their parents, many of their teachers, as well as art workshop representatives. They gathered in Athens from various parts of our country, including Thessaloniki, Crete, Euboea, Rhodes, Amphiali, Larissa, Andravida, Paros, Serres, Farsala, along with children from various regions of Attica, such as Maroussi, Mati, Galatsi, Patsia, Argyroupli, Nea Marki, Perama, and Cholargos. It should be mentioned that a total of more than 600 children from all over Greece participated in the event.

The event’s guest of honour was the illustrious Greek painter and Professor at the National Technical University’s School of Architecture, Mr Sotiris Sorogas.

The Foundation’s President, Mrs. Marianna V. Vardinoyannis, welcomed the children with open arms, specifically stating with great emotion: “We would like for this to be our Institution’s first event for 2017, as it sends the most positive of messages for the New Year, the same message that our beloved children also send, whose participation enables us to view the sacred days of Christmas through their beautiful paintings, along with their aspirations and the world which they imagine, pure and innocent, from their very own perspective! We are extremely pleased, as this competition has been embraced, in such a short period of time, by numerous schools and students in various parts of Greece. Once again, we received a large number of beautiful works of art for this year’s competition. Each was unique, and this in itself could indeed have constituted the theme for our Christmas card; every painting a window to the world, as witnessed, perceived, and envisioned by each child. When observing the world through their eyes, I feel great pride for our country’s new generation. I wish everybody a happy New Year and hope that the Almighty grants you health, happiness in your lives, success, and enables you to realize all of your dreams.

Seven-year-old Chara Mpazioti from Maroussi was the winner of this year’s competition, a 2nd grade elementary school student at the Costeas-Geitonas School, whose painting became the subject of the Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation’s Christmas card for 2016, lending colour and shape “to the Tree of Peace, Hope, and Love.”

As a prize, Chara Mpazioti was awarded the “Boat”, an etching by Professor Sotiris Sorogas, numbered and signed by the artist, so that she may always remember this distinction, and to serve as a source of inspiration throughout her life’s journey.

This prize, along with a commemorative certificate issued jointly by the Foundation and the Children’s Gallery, were given to the winner by Mrs. Vardinoyannis, together with the winner of last year’s competition, 9-year-old Thanassis Sotiropoulos, a 5th grader at the Elementary School of Amaliada.

Subsequently, honorary certificates were distributed to all of the children.

Educator Catherine Lengou represented the Children’s Gallery of Greece at the event, who also extended her welcome.

This was followed by a speech on the part of Professor Sotiris Sorogas, who was introduced by the

Director of the Art Programme of the “B & M Foundation for the Fine Arts”, Mr. Takis Mavrotas.

Among other things, Mr. Takis Mavrotas stated, “Sotiris Sorogas is one of the greatest figures in modern Greek art who has managed, through his multifaceted oeuvre, to preserve, promote, and enrich European painting. He is not only an artist of deep reflection, but also constitutes an active force in the effort to revive the tradition of teaching painting. In 2004, the Academy of Athens honoured him for his valuable cultural contribution in establishing an identity for Greek art, as well as for his tireless work in education.

Immediately following, Professor Sotiris Sorogas took the podium, stating: “These types of events, especially at the present time, serve to console our land, which continues to decay on all levels. Such rejuvenating meetings offer hope and give us the courage to continue to push forth in our lives, because Hellenism must never die. Provided the occasion of this event, I would like to express my deepest gratitude to Mrs. Vardinoyannis, as these projects reflect the very essence of her soul. This is important because it is only thus, I believe, that we can continue to exist. The machine of government has died, and I consider such private initiatives to be the life force, the only manner in which this land’s rebirth will be able to occur, a land which must not remain an element of death in the annals of World History. I am happy because, according to my own conscience, as well as to that belonging to everybody, Mrs. Vardinoyannis has acquired a dimension of epic proportions. Stated otherwise, Mrs. Vardinoyannis, in addition to being Mrs. Vardinoyannis, is a person who has embraced us all. I hope that these young children will continue to believe in what they are doing; that they do not begin viewing art simply as an enjoyable break from the tempest of life; that it becomes, on the contrary, a compass in the path leading to the rebirth of this land.”

A copy of the book entitled “Delphic Highlights” was given to all the children and teachers, a recent co-publication of the European Cultural Centre of Delphi and the “Marianna V. Vardinoyannis Foundation,” containing the artwork of great Greek and international painters which comprises the Delphic Centre’s collection.

Following the event, a meal was served.