Pogoni Is Stimulus of Artist’s Paintings
By Catherine Tsounis
Pogoni is a place of natural beauty with history. Pogoni is in the northwest of the prefecture of Ioannina. Tradition states that Byzantine Emperor Pogonatos lived here about 700 A.D. Pogoni belongs to Konitsa prefecture and Albania. World War II and the Greek Civil War resulted in massive immigration. The memories of family and tradition remain with the immigrants.
Marianthi Raptis, a New York City artist who has created unique folk art oil paintings. Her village of Dolo in Pogoni is the stimulus of incredible works of feeling for a way of life that exists in memories. Artist Raptis’ paintings played a major role in the success of a recent “Holiday Art Exhibition & Sale” held at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, New York.
“My paintings are like my children,” said the artist. “They make me happy. “I made a poppy arrangement on a table and created a still life painting. My love of New York is reflected in my Hudson River work. I painted my daughter, Panagiota, in a traditional Pogonisian costume. Our home in Dolo and traditional Epirotan houses are the themes of some of my paintings.”
“I came to the United States in 1958,” she explained. “I studied at the New York School of Interior Design. Subsequently, I attended the Art Students League and studied textile design. I was awarded first prize by both the School and by the Industry for my design work. For thirty years, I worked as a textile designer in home furnishings and wallpapers, in one of the finest companies in America that had originated in France.
She continued saying that she “traveled to Europe. I worked in different museums, copying and recreating textile and wallpaper designs for our company.
I chose to take an early retirement when the company was sold. But now I am fortunate to be doing what I had dreamt of for years. I have been busy doing oil paintings of flowers, landscapes, animals and people and hope to continue painting for many years to come.
My village of Dolo was considered the jewel of Pogoni. The people from Dolo traveled throughout the world and succeeded in business. Our villagers educated their children. Many hold important positions in Greece. As for me, I thank God who had in my destiny to come to the United States. America gave me the opportunity of going to school, learning English, creating an art profession and bringing a daughter into this world that makes me proud.”
Photo1 – Home in Dolo, Pogoni Greece.
Photo 2- Artist Marianthi Raptis at her recent exhibit.