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Athanasios (Arthur) Kalamaras

Athanasios (Arthur) Kalamaras, a Greek-Australian artist known as West Australia’s foremost figurative sculptor, has a rich artistic heritage in both Greek and Australian culture. Born in Florina, Greece, in 1950, his family relocated to Western Australia when he was a year old. His father, Leonidas, a celebrated Greek artist, and his mother, Vasso, a sculptor, poet, and playwright, fostered a creative environment. Athanasios was also influenced by his uncle, Dimitris Kalamaras, a prominent Greek sculptor.

His artistic exploration began with extensive travels across Europe from 1968 to 1972. He later pursued formal studies in sculpture, graduating from W.A.I.T (Curtin University) in Perth in 1974, simultaneously obtaining a diploma from the Pedagogic Academy. His study and travel to museums and archaeological sites across Bulgaria, Poland, Italy, and Greece, introduced him to diverse sculptural styles and techniques.
In the 1970s, he was commissioned to craft wood carvings for a Catholic Church in Perth, creating powerful pieces such as “12 Stations of the Cross” and a life-size sculpture of Christ on the Cross. This marked the beginning of his increasing popularity in Australia, with his works displayed prominently across the country.

While initially experimenting with modern and abstract concepts, Athanasios eventually embraced principles from the Renaissance and Classical Greek antiquity. His mastery extended to hard materials like stone and marble, reviving the ancient sculpting techniques.
Noteworthy among his creations is the monumental memorial “Minmarra – Gun Gun” (later renamed “Yorkas Nyinning”), commemorating pioneer women of Western Australia and incorporating Aboriginal symbols. This significant piece, completed at age 27, symbolizes women’s role in the region’s development and remains a highlight at King’s Park Botanical Gardens in Perth, WA. Other monumental stone sculptures, include “Goddess of Athena” and “The Mel of the Wargle,” reflecting a deep connection to his roots and diverse cultures.
His use of various mediums, from sandstone sculptures like “Kouros and Kori”, to a 2-meter wooden sculpture of the “Mother and Child,” showcases his versatility across materials and forms.

Beyond his artistic endeavours, he played a pivotal role in establishing the “J Shed Art Studios,” a hub for arts and culture in Fremantle, WA during the early 1990s.

Throughout his career, Athanasios has exhibited his works extensively, participating in solo and joint exhibitions across Australia. Notably, his 2006 exhibition at the Vafopouleio Cultural Centre in Thessaloniki marked a significant return to his birthplace in Greece.
Athanasios Kalamaras’ artistic legacy remains a testament to his dedication to ancient principles, his mastery of diverse materials, and his profound connection to both his Greek roots and Australian landscapes.

News & Media

A fusion of cultures an ancient inspiration in Western Australia, The Greek Herald, 5 January 2024

Group Exhibitions
1972    W.A.I.T. (Curtin University of Technology), Perth
1973    W.A.I.T. (Curtin University of Technology), Perth
1974 Undercroft Exhibitions at the University of Western Australia, Perth
         Western Australian Art Gallery – Channel 7 Exhibition, Perth
         Mount Street Perth Gallery -Final Year Student Exhibition
1975 W.A.I.T. (Curtin University of Technology), Perth
1976 Dalkeith Council Exhibition
1977 Architecture Building W.A.I.T. Exhibition
1978 Fremantle Art Centre
1979 Concert Hall, Perth
         Gallery 52
1980 Quentin Gallery
1981 Quentin Gallery
         Fremantle Art Centre
         Frater Gallery, Melbourne
1982 Quentin Gallery
         Ethnic Artists’ Exhibition
         Fine Art Gallery Exhibition
         Fremantle Arts Centre W.A
         Sculptor’s Survival Kit Exhibition
         Concert Hall
1983 Claremont School of Art Gallery- Lecturers Exhibition
          Albany Art Exhibition
1985 Claremont School of Art Gallery
1988 Claremont School of Art exhibition “The Birth of Venus” Exhibiton
2006 Vafopouleio Cultural Centre, Municipality of Thessaloniki, Greece
Major Commissions
1978 Christ on the Cross- life-size (6 mt)wood carving
          14 Panels Wood Carving Reliefs New Catholic Church, City Beach, Perth
1979 “Yorkas Nyinning- a place where the spirits of women rest”, large (H 2mts x W 16mts) sandstone relief in Kings Park, WA
1982 “Caryatios” 4 stone carved sculptures for the Wittenoom Apartments in Mount Street, Kings Park.
W.A.I.T. Aquisition Aluminium Sculpture
Fremantle Sandstone Megalithic Sculpture “Goddess of Athena”
Canberra Ministry for Ethnic Affairs- two bronze sculptures
Melbourne Ex- Premier Hammer – Bronze Sculpture
New Zealand Wood Carving Sculpture “Lovers”
Greece Church in Attica “St Friday” – Wood Carving
Archbishop              Wood Carving Panel
Bulgaria Sofia – Interior Tempera Wall Paintings
Hostel “Atlantis”
Apartment “Altantis”
Apartment               “Gods of Olympus”
Plovdiv – Theme Atlantis
USA Bronze Sculpture
Selected Bibliography
Stelios Lydakis, Hellenic Sculpture, Melissa, 1981, page 339
“Ellinismos” newspaper, Australia, 19 July 1980
Kalamaras, Sculpture and Painter Exhibition, Hellenic Festival “1981 Victorian Artists” Society Galleries, Melbourne
Niki Loizidi, Greek Artists Abroard, Ekdotikis Athinon, 1983
“The West Australian” newspaper, 15 August 1985
“Sunday Times” magazine, 18 August 1985
Chrysanthos Christou, Professor Emeritus of History of Art Academic, Greek Artists Abroad, 1988, page 325-326
Dictionary of Greek Artists, Melissa, 1998, volume 2, page 73
Athanasios Kalamaras Exhibition Catalogue of 2006, Vafopouleio Cultural Centre in Thessaloniki, Greece.