George Anemoyiannis (Paxos 1798 - Nafpactos/Lepanto 1821)
Hero and martyr of the Greek war of independence of 1821 - 1827, one of the first incendiaries of the Greek navy.
George Anemoyiannis was born in 1798 on the island of Paxos which was under the dominion of the republic of Venice and had never been occupied by the Ottomans. He nevertheless participated in the Greek war of independence against the Ottoman Empire by joining the crew of the boat of Laskarina Bouboulina, "The Allies". On the night of 21 June 1821 during an attack against the Turkish navy in Nafpaktos (Lepanto) he attempted to set fire to a Turkish warship moored in the harbor. Caught by the Turks he was impaled and hung at the Nafpaktos castle as a cautionary example.
A monument to Anemogiannis was erected on the Venetian jetty at the entrance of the port of Nafpaktos in 1972 and at his home island, Paxos, in 1966.
The bronze statue is the work of the sculptor Nikola Pavlopoulos and is located near the south entrance of the port of Gaios in Giannas. Anemogiannis is represented standing on the prow of his boat holding a torch in his right hand, inviting all to witness his rare heroism and sense of self-sacrifice !

Left : The statue in Paxos. Right : The Nafpaktos version.

On the base of the Paxos monument on a bronze plaque are inscribed Anemoyiannis’ last words in verse :
"Freedom you are asking for my brothers,
And I for my faith wish to die first,
for our sweet homeland
if the jib won’t burn"

The sculptor Nikola Pavlopoulos (St George Neleias, district of Magnesia, Thessaly 1909 - Athens 1990)

Nikola Pavlopoulos was a Greek sculptor and engraver. He was first taught by his father who was a wood carver specializing in church furnishings and decorations. Growing up in Volos, Nikola also practiced calligraphy music and theater. After graduating from the Volos technical lyceum, Nikola went on to Athens where he studied sculpture with Thomas Thomopolos at the National School of Fine Arts. He practiced as an essentially academic sculptor in marble and wood and also as a wood engraver and book illustrator. His work was widely exhibited in Greece but also abroad, in London, Washington, Montreal, Tokyo, Sydney ... He received a number of prizes for his participation in international competitions in Paris, Rome, and Florence. At his death in 1990 he left some of his best works to a municipal museum created in his honor in his home village in mount Pelion.

Condition and restoration of the Anemoyiannis monument, Paxos 2015

Since its erection in 1966 the Anemogiannis monument has suffered from exposure to sea moisture and salt, being set on fire by tourists in the 1970’s, numberless coats of green paint and fill-ins with cement at its legs. The legs in particular show numerous cracks, which could endanger the stability of the statue.
The Association of the Friends of Paxos , with the encouragement of the mayor Spyros Vlahopoulos, has commissioned the restoration of the statue of George Anemoyiannis from the Gavala foundry, the oldest and most renowned foundry in Athens.
Created in 1962 by the bronze sculptor D. Gavalas, the Gavalas foundry was the first fine art foundry in Greece. In its 43 years of existence it has collaborated with many well known Greek artists including Takis, Sohos, Gikas, Zogopoulos...
Today the Gavala foundry, with newly modernized installations, continues its collaboration with established sculptors in Greece and the Balkans : Moralis, Parmakelis, Karetsou, Paleologos, Sarakatsianos, Benopoulou, Vasalou, Kaligeropoulos, Georgiou, Vasiliou, Korovesi, Bardis, Tzavara, Kotsireas, Kalevras and many more.
A professional team from the Gavala foundry arrived in Paxos on 15 June 2015 for the restoration of the George Anemogiannis monument.
In three days accumulated coats of discolored green paint were carefully removed, cracks closed and the bronze surface resealed with wax. The original oxidized colors showing the mix of metals typically used in Greek foundries of the 1960’s have reappeared. With time they will be re-oxidized and assume a uniform green patina, a result of the statue’s exposure to salty air. Lost details like chisel marks on the face, curls in the hair and sharp edges of the torch flames are now clearly visible again, considerably enlivening the statue’s impact.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed to the financing of this restoration project, bringing back to life one of the best known and cherished symbols of Paxos.

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