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Leonidas Kalamaras

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In memory of Leonidas Kalamaras, with the family’s request that the following excerpt and images about the life and work of Leonidas, be used for inclusion in the Greek Australian Art Directory (GAAD).

Leonidas Kalamaras achieved international acclaim as both a sculptor and a painter, earning numerous awards for his unique work showcased in exhibitions held in Greece and Australia over the years. He was born in Florina, Greece, in 1932. In 1950, he immigrated to Perth, Western Australia, to reunite with his father, who had emigrated to Manjimup in 1924. In Manjimup, Leonidas, along with his wife Vasso and their young son Athanasios, helped establish and cultivate the land his father had purchased, balancing his passion for the arts with the responsibilities of farm life and providing for his growing family. Their youngest son, Constantinos, arrived soon after, but Leonidas managed to continue his artistic studies.

He returned to study sculpture for a year at the Athens School of Fine Arts and furthered his studies at the School of Fine Arts in Perth, ultimately obtaining a Diploma in Sculpture. In 1968, he was appointed as a Professor in the Sculpture Department at the Claremont School of Art, where he organized and developed the curriculum for the department. He held this position until his retirement. He was a member of the Chamber of Fine Arts of Greece and the Greek Sculptures Association. In 1976, he began receiving commissions, and in 1980, he held his first solo exhibition in Athens, followed by a similar exhibition in Perth. In 1981, he received national sponsorship from the “Community Art Board Australia Council” to exhibit his work in Athens, leading to more exhibitions in Greece (Athens, Thessaloniki, Florina) and Australia (Melbourne, Sydney, Canberra, Perth). In 2004, he was honoured with national sponsorship by the “Department of Culture and Arts,” Government of Western Australia, to exhibit his work in Thessaloniki.

The Kalamaras family boasts a rich artistic legacy, with Leonidas’s brother being a professor of Sculpture in Greece, and Leonidas’s sons excelling as both sculptors and painters. Constantinos practiced as an architect for many years before becoming a lecturer at TAFE in Perth. Leonidas’s wife, Vasso, is a published writer who has received awards for her accomplished work.
In his own words, Leonidas once stated, “Sculpture is my primary art, but I also engage in painting as I find sculpture to be quite demanding. I am drawn to the human figure, as it provides ample room for self-expression. My desire is for reality to serve as the foundation for abstraction in my art. I strive to remain minimally influenced by contemporary trends; I am not one for modern movements.”

“His copper sculptures set off the human figure and embrace a series of posture, each one of which highlights the dignity of our human existence.” Quote by Murray Mason, The West Australian (Leonidas Kalamaras”, Thessaloniki, Exhibition Catalogue May 2004)

“One of the most characteristic and important figures among our creators, among the Greek living abroad, distinguished for his love for the human element and his contemplation on basic artistic and human values. An excellent artist tracing out a long and very important route, gifted with versatile talent as regards modern Greek art, able to develop both aspects of artistic expression, sculpture and painting, with the same creative sensibility.” Quote by Vasilis Papageorgopoulos, Mayor of Thessaloniki in 2004. (“Leonidas Kalamaras”, Thessaloniki, Exhibition Catalogue May 2004)

“He is distinguished for the extent and the richness of his morphoplastic language and for not having forgotten his Greek descent, something that is proven, more than anything, from his subjects, his quests, his formations; since the human shape is his definitive subject, he uses a morphoplastic language, which does not sacrifice the virtual reality, his quests aim at expressing the substantial and the everlasting.” Quote by Crysanthos Christou, Professor Emeritus of History of Art Academic. (“Leonidas Kalamaras”, Thessaloniki, Exhibition Catalogue May 2004)

An earlier quote from Crysanthos Christou, Academic and Professor Emeritus of Art History in 1997 reads, “One of our creatives Greeks, who are dispersed throughout the world, is the sculptor and painter, Leonidas Kalamaras, who lives and works in Australia. One of the most distinguished, well known and remarkable contemporary artists, Kalamaras’ work is distinguished by the extent of its richness and the language of its moulding of form. Kalamaras never forgot his Hellenic origins, something that is demonstrated in his writing statements and research. Because the human figure is his defined theme, he uses figure-forming vocabulary, without sacrificing his aim of a visual reality which expresses the essential and the diachronic. What makes even more of an impression in Kalamaras’ artistic endeavours is his individualistic use of an expressionistic vocabulary which gives so much tone to his sculpture and painting.”

News & Media

Renowned sculptor and painter, The Greek Herald, 8 December 2023

Individual Exhibitions
1980 ORA Gallery, Athens.
1980 Miller Gallery, Perth.
1981 KOCHLAIS Gallery, Thessaloniki.
1981 Greek Festival, Melbourne.
1982 ORA Gallery, Athens (with financial support of the Council of Fine Arts of Australia).
1982 Holdsworth Gallery, Sydney.
1982 Realities Gallery, Melbourne.
1982 Chapman Gallery, Canberra.
1983 Avante Garde Gallery, Perth.
1985 Holdsworth Gallery, Syndey
1986 Art Gallery- Society for Macedonian Studies, Thessaloniki
1986 Salonika National Gallery, Thessaloniki.
1988 EIRMOS Gallery, Thessaloniki.
1997 “Melina Merkouri” Cultural Centre, after an honorary invitation by the municipality of Athens.
1997 Hall of the Greek Sculptors Association, after an honorary invitation.
1997 F.S.F. “ARISTOTLE” Hall, Municipality of Florina.
2004 Vafopouleio Cultural Centre, “Leonidas Kalamaras”, Thessaloniki, 3-23 May 2004.
2007 “Sculpture, Landscape and Soul Exhibition”, after an honorary invitation by the Cultural Organisation of the Municipality of Athens & Australian Embassy of Athens, Cultural Centre of the Municipality of Athens, 4 October 2007.

Group Exhibitions
1965-1966 Guild Prize- Guild Annual Exhibition, University of W.A. First Prize.
1967-1968 Purchasing Prize – Manjimup Art Prize, W.A. First Prize.
1969-1971 Purchasing Prize – Bunbury Art Prize, W.A. First Prize.
1971 Invited – Tranfield Art Prize for Sculpture, Sydney.
1971-1972 Invited – Painting and Drawing Exhibition, W.A.I.T
1972 12th Panhellenic Exhibition, Athens.
1973 Invited – Sculpture Exhibition, W.A.I.T.
1974 Western Australian Artists, W.A Art Gallery, Festival of Perth.
1975 W.A Sculptors, Dunsborough Gallery, Festival of Perth.
1979 Lecturers Claremont School of Art, Gallery 52, Claremont.
1980-1981 Lecturers Claremont School of Art, Quentin Gallery, Claremont.
1981 Lecturers Claremont School of Art, Fremantle Art Centre Gallery, Fremantle.
1982 Invited Sculptor’s Survival Kit, Fremantle Art Centre Gallery, 0th Anniversary.
1982 Invited – Mobil/Pegasus Art Award Art Gallery, W.A.
From 1983 until 1996 he participated in the Gallery C.S.A Lectures Claremont School of Art Exhibition.

Works of Leonidas Kalamaras can be found in:
• National Art Gallery – Alexandros Soutzos Museum, Athens.
• “Ionas Vorres” Museum, Paiania, Attica.
• Art Gallery of the Society for Macedonian Studies, Thessaloniki.
• Albany Art Gallery, W.A.
• Bunbury Art Gallery, W.A.
• Western Australia Institute of Technology.
• Manjimup Town Hall, W.A.
• Claremont School of Art, Perth.
• F.S.F. “ARISTOTLE”, Florina.

In 1981 he was honoured with the national sponsorship by the “Community Art Board Australia Council” in order to exhibit his work in Athens.
In 2004 he was honoured with the national sponsorship by the “Department of Culture and the Art”, Government of Western Australia, in order to exhibit his work in Thessaloniki.

• Veatriki Spiliadi, “The human Presence in the sculpture and painting of Leonidas Kalamaras”, “Kathimerini” newspaper, February 23, 1980
• Stellios Lykdakis, The Greek Sculptors, “Melissa” editions, Athens, 1981, page 340.
• Murray Mason, Vigour, elegance and messages in the sculpture of Leonidas Kalamaras, Exhibition Catalogue, Kochlias Gallery, January 1981.
• Deryn Thorpe, “Leon and Vasso Kalamaras Migrants, Artists, Australians”, “Fremantle Arts Review”, April 1990.
• Alan Burton, Combining the arts in a family way, Thursday magazine, “The West Australia”, 1981.
• Giorgos Mavroedes, The painter Giorgos Mavroedes for the work of Leonidas Kalamaras, Exhibition Catalogue, Kochlias Gallery, January 1981.
• Veatriki Spiliadi, “Poetry and Sculpture by two immigrants, Vasso and Leonidas Kalamaras”, “Kathimerini” newspaper, March 21, 1981.
• Chrysanthos Christou, Contemporary Greek Sculpture an edition of Emporiki Bank of Greece, Athens, 1982, page284.
• Bill Hawthorn, Contemporary Painters and Sculptures, W.A, 1982.
• Dora IIiopoulo-Rogan, Critical Note in “Kathinerini” newspaper January 14, 1982.
• Veatriki Spiliadi, Painting and Sculpture of Leonidas Kalamaras”, “Eleftherotypia” newspaper, January 24, 1982.
• Niki Liozidi, Greek Artists Abroad, Athens 1983, pages 141-247.
• Nina Kokkalidou-Nahmia, “The Sculptor and Painter Leonidas Kalamaras”, “Thessaloniki” newspaper, 1986.
• Veatriki Spiliadi, “The Kalamaras Exhibition Art ORA Gallery” ARTLOOK magazine, Perth 1980 and CHRONIKI magazine Melbourne, 1980.
• Viviane Morris, “Leonidas Kalamaras back in the lands that inspire him”, Neos Kosmos” newspaper, Melbourne, 1997.
• Chrysanthos Christou, Professor Emeritus of History of Art, Academic, “The Sculptor of Leonidas Kalamaras”, Exhibition Catalogue, Hall F.S.F. “Aristotle”, Municipality of Florina, August 1997.
• Babi Raki, “Leonidas Kalamaras: The Distinguished Sculptor who honours the Greek Name in Australia”, Ellinikos Kirykas” newspaper, Syndey, September 1998.
• Antiopi Maniati, “Artistic Impressions from the Sculpting Exhibition of Leonidas Kalamaras” “Euro-IOS” newspaper, Athens, 1998.
• Katerina K. Terzopoulou, “Leonidas and Vasso Kalamaras. The Sculptor and Writer”, “Epiloges” magazine “Macedonia” newspaper, Thessaloniki 2000.
• “Leonidas Kalamaras”, Thessaloniki, Exhibition Catalogue May 2004.
• Literary Periodical of The Greek-Australian Cultural League of Melbourne, Issue Number 51- 2005. Page 31-38.