Updated: Jul 12
This blog is written by both Kalie and Amalia. It is a story about a project 12 months in the making and heavily involving both of us.
Part One: By Amalia
In July 2022 while I was on Kythera I met with John Stathatos, the curator of the Kytherian Photographic Archives. What a wonderful man with such a passion for Kytherian history! We spent many hours together sharing our love of Kytherian history. I asked if there was any way that Kytherian Genealogy Project by Amalia and Kalie could help support the archives and the preservation of Kytherian records. John told me they were preparing a room at the archives building in Chora, at the Castle, to display and store the photographic archive collections, but they were in desperate need for cabinets, drawers, and shelves to store the works, particularly the Panagitois Fatseas photographic collection original glass negatives. Nothing further could be done until this specialised and bespoke storage equipment was designed, arranged, purchased, and installed.
Over the next few months John designed and organised all the storage equipment needed and Kytherian Genealogy Project by Amalia and Kalie, with the support of my father Peter Vlandis, provided the funds to purchase everything he needed. I was overwhelmed at how professionally everything was conducted as the cabinets had to be custom made to specific dimensions as well as be archive quality. Considering by then it was a Kytherian winter, the cabinets were custom built and delivered relatively quickly, leading up to what is on display at the archives today.
I am very proud of our contribution to this wonderful exhibition, and I hope our contribution will be appreciated by Kytherians for generations to come.
Part two: By Kalie
On Saturday 8th July I was honoured to have attended an invitation only event organised by the KIPA foundation that marked the official opening of the Kytherian photographic archives showcasing a permanent exhibition of the photographic works of the late Kytherian photographer Panayiotis Fatseas. The event took place on a hot summer's evening with the guests seated in the courtyard shadowed by the Kytherian archives building, which was once the residence of the British Resident of Cerigo.
The formalities commenced with a blessing conducted by the priest from Hora, followed by a speech by Renata Pantazidou head of the Kytherian Archives, thanking contributors who made the dream of a Kytherian photographic archive and permanent exhibition a reality, including KIPA, Peter Vlandis and the Kytherian Genealogy Project by Amalia and Kalie. Her speech was followed by a presentation of plaques made by the president of KIPA Mr George Kassimatis to family members of Panayiotis Fatseas, including his grandson.
I had the immense honour to accept the plaque on behalf of the Kytherian Genealogy Project for Amalia and myself, presented to us for our funding contribution of the cabinets used to store the photographic archives. A plaque was then presented to Mr Peter Vlandis (Amalia's father) also for his contribution to this invaluable archive.
A moving speech was made by the curator of the collection Mr John Stathatos about the photographer Panayiotis Fatseas and his glass negative collection and the decision to place this valuable collection in the Greek State Archives of Kythera ensuring their future prosperity. He stated that although the exhibition focuses on the Fatseas photographs, the archives aim to be a rich photographic archive of Kythera, aiming to also house photographs (old and new) of interest capturing Kytherian life, both in Kythera and abroad. He noted that the photographs which featured in an exhibition some years ago in Hora relating to life in Australia have now also been included in the archives. He also stated that with further funding contributions, the aim is to have the entire collection digitised and available online, making it accessible to Kytherians around the world.
The exhibition is located through a small archway under the stairs of the Kytherian Archives building. You enter directly into the room that now houses the permanent exhibition, a room which Renata advised me was in a terrible state including some rotting floorboards, which were replaced thanks to the generosity of contributors such as KIPA. As you enter on the left there is a commemorative plaque with a series of photographs taken by the late Panayiotis Fatseas adorning the walls of the exhibition space. These photographs will be changed every three months. Also, on the wall there is an A4 sheet giving a few details about the life of the photographer and the archives. A doorway leads from this room into the photographic archive which has been fitted out with bookshelves and steel cabinets housing priceless glass negatives of the collection.
Visitors are free to view the exhibition from Monday to Friday 9am to 1pm.
John Stathatos has kindly offered to organise a small private tour of the collection and archives in conjunction with Kytherian Genealogy Project, so keep an eye out on our Facebook page for details if you happen to be in Kythera over July and August.