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Babis Goumas: Breathing Life to Greek Ceramics in Athens

Athenians followed in procession on their way to participate in the Sacred Mysteries of Elefsis city. A yard of wonders opens before you as you pass the workshop entrance—a secret temple. It’s like you’re moving into another place and time. Dozens of clay statues, hundreds of antlers, and scattered clay objects make visitors stand in admiration, surprise, and awe. The 12 gods of Olympus, Heracles, Dionysus, Hermes, Demeter, Athena, Poseidon, the nine muses, Caryatids, sphinxes, eagles, and lions lead you to a paradoxical universe made of earth, water, fire, and air.

Babis (Charalambos) Goumas was born in Athens in 1950. His grandfather was a potter from Sifnos, an island with a tradition in Greek ceramics, and it was he who introduced him to the magic of this ancient art. From a young age, Gouams learned and practiced the art of neoclassical ceramic sculpture in the workshop of his father Konstantinos, in the exact same place where he is today. His childhood playground, like his home, was inside the [laboratory]. He made his first large-scale statue, of the muse of poetry, Erato, at the age of 18.

Since then, he has been creating statues of unique beauty, bringing to life images of beautiful neoclassical Athens that follow in the footsteps of the architect Ernestos Ziller. He gives life to statues and reproduces ceramic objects and all kinds of clay artefacts–capitals, acrokerama, capitals, and furousia. His collection of original molds is unique. Other works he copies originate from rare pieces he has found in antique shops, barns, or demolished homes, but many are his own creations, works of special art and sensitivity. His work is housed in museums and adorns public buildings, theaters, hotels, residences, and outdoor spaces in Greece and abroad.

He is a great creator of an art that comes directly from antiquity to today, an art whose material remains unchanged over time. He is one of the last practitioners of this ancient tradition and a great teacher who passionately and lovingly passes on the secrets of his art to the younger generation. This modest original, tireless, genuine artist doesn’t want to be talked about, only to be remembered his works. He is a great creator, and his work proves it.

Directed by Dionysia Kopana

Dionysia Kopana was born in Arcadia, Greece. She has studied film, psychology, and history of art, and has worked in television, advertising, and film production. She is also a photographer and columnist. She has directed Theatrical plays and has written Screenplays and Directed Photography.

She explores hybrid forms of narrative, and she loves essay documentaries. Since 2007, she has been teaching Film Directing and Creative Documentary. She collaborates on a continuous basis with The Creative Group for the Development of Young People’s Audiovisual Communication and Expression “Youth Plan” (Neaniko Plano). She has also given presentations at conferences on Audiovisual / Cinema Education.

Her films have participated in and won awards in numerous film festivals. She has served as a member in various critics’ committees and is a founding member of the Greek Documentary Association.

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