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Mystery 188 The Light


Mystery 188 The Light

From 10 March to 7 April, at the Old Town Hall, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 188 THE LIGHT, an exhibition about the “Educational and Cultural Association of Elefsina” through the eyes of Thanasis Leventis, a founding member, a special and multifaceted personality inextricably linked with the city.

Credits:

Curator: Olga Hatzidaki

Concept: Menelaos Karamaghiolis

Exhibition Video: Menelaos Karamaghiolis, Døcumatism

Production Management T & T PRODUCTIONS

A production of 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture

Information:

Dates: 10 March to 7 April 2024
Opening hours: Wednesday to Sunday, 13.00 – 20.00
Venue: Elefsina Old Town Hall

Opening & Discussion: Sunday 10 March, 12.00

Thanasis Leventis, the director Eva Stefani and the 2023 Eleusis General Artistic Director, Michail Marmarinos will participate in the discussion. 

Free entrance 

The exhibition presents a significant part of the personal archive of Thanasis Leventis, including the issues of the monthly magazine To Fos [The Light] published by the Association, photographs from artistic events and memorable moments and many other documents of the first cultural association of the city. The exhibition is accompanied by the cinematic vision of the great creator Menelaos Karamaghiolis, with video documentation of the life and activities of Thanasis Leventis and the Association.

Spring 1957, Elefsina. A group of young people in the city begin the first attempts to create a cultural association. Similar associations exist in the capital and in various cities of the country. The current climate is favourable for such initiatives, the shortages and needs in the region are considerable. Suggestions to this effect are made from many parts of the Left and beyond. In the 1950s, there are other associations in Elefsina that pursue similar activities: the Young Men’s and Young Women’s Clubs, the Union of Naturalists, the Mountaineering Association, local clubs, sports clubs, etc. as well as the Labour Centre of Elefsina with its dozens of unions, which develops a strong trade union activity. 

The “Educational and Cultural Association of Elefsina” is very prominent, actively participating in cultural events. For ten years, its club in the city centre operates daily, with a reading room, a lending library and a lecture hall. The monthly magazine TO FOS [The Light] is published with limited financial means for more than two years. This activity is a serious collective effort that is both substantial and long-lasting. It significantly influences intellectual and cultural life in Elefsina and the nearby towns during the decade 1957-1967, providing multifaceted work, which is groundbreaking for the time and the place where it unfolded.

The Junta dissolves the Association. Many of its members are arrested and exiled. Its assets are confiscated and more than 1,000 books from its library and archives disappear, except for a small part which is concealed and preserved. After the fall of the Junta, a group of old members of the Association, along with new friends, set about reactivating it. It was active in 1974-76, but conditions had changed. The intellectual and cultural activity of the city is taken over by the new municipal authority of Elefsina, which includes several old members of the Association. Over time the Municipality of Elefsina develops a strong cultural presence, with the Aeschylia festival and other events gradually absorbing any similar activities by various local clubs and the Cultural Association, which dwindles and ceases to operate. 

For all the emotional power of the exhibits, the exhibition Mystery 188 THE LIGHT is not a museum piece. On the contrary, and very deliberately, its character is dynamic and forward-looking. It functions as a critical reminder of a set of values that, while seemingly gone forever, remain relevant to any contemporary state

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Thanasis Leventis was born in Vilia, Attica, and lived in Elefsina during his school and university years. He studied at the Medical School of the University of Athens, where he was awarded a Doctorate and became an Assistant Professor. He specialised in Neurosurgery and worked for 36 years in the Public Health System as a Registrar and Head of major neurosurgery clinics.

He became involved in politics and participated in social struggles from his student years, starting with the Cultural Association of Elefsina, where he served as founding member, general secretary, and president. He was elected five times MP for Attica representing the Left. He has served as deputy speaker of Parliament and member of several parliamentary committees. 

He has written two books: Reliving the Past with the Cultural Association of Elefsina and Traveller on Difficult Roads, a record of personal experiences that bears witness to a critical historical period for Greece.

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From 17 April to 30 May, 2023 Eleusis European Capital of Culture presents Mystery 199 Vangelis Tsakos – Thanos Tsingos, an exhibition – tribute to two great artists of Elefsina, the award-winning photographer Vangelis Tsakos and the internationally acclaimed artist Thanos Tsingos at the Old Town Hall of Elefsina. Photographic and painting works, testimonies, publications, exceptional editions and valuable materials, products of extensive research, describe their history and highlight just a small part of the particularly rich but also unique work of the two artists.

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