Marianthi Raptis Making an Imprint in Art of Diaspora Greeks
By Catherine Tsounis
Summer breeze, flowery trees, boats, sun and the relaxing colors of the Aegean Sea is the eternal image of Greece. Marianthi Raptis of Whitestone, New York is using these themes in her international art exhibits. She exhibited her work at an Art Exhibition featuring the works of Diaspora Greek artists in the Stathakion Cultural Center, 22-51 29th St., Queens, NY, 11105 on June 15th and 16th. She participated in two previous exhibitions at the Stathakion. She has donated her art work to non-profit organizations such as Prometheus Greek Teachers Association and the Heritage Museum of Epirus in Astoria.
“I worked 30 years as a textile designer and colorist for home furnishings and wall papers in NYC,” explained Ms. Raptis. “I find great pleasure in expressing myself in art, painting different subjects. Landscapes, portraits, flower painting are my enjoyment at this time of my life.” I met the artist thirty years ago. I covered a news event at an Epirotan social, through the suggestion of Julia Betsios. Marianthi Raptis’ personal eloquence impressed me.
She is president of the Dolou Pogoniou Society of Epirus. “Recently we had an artoclasia (holy bread blessing) at Holy Cross Church of Whitestone in memory of Agios Christoforou, the patron of our village,” she said. Epirus produced a large percentage of immigrants who amassed fortunes. They gifted their wealth to the Greek nation either to fund the armed struggle against the Ottomans or to provide valuable structure for the creation of a new State. Epirotan Benefactors rebuilt Greece. Their unique talents, as that of Marianthi Raptis, keep traditions alive in the international Diaspora of Greeks.
Photo 1- Marianthi Raptis.