Rumors Aplenty that Dromeas Statue in Athens Could be Skopje-Bound

The famous Dromeas Statue created by Kostas Varotsos. (Photo Archive: Giorgos Kontarinis/Eurokinissi)

ATHENS –  A suggestion that has caused a variety of reactions is allegedly made by Culture Minister Myrsini Zorba to the sculptor of “Dromeas” located opposite the Hilton Hotel in the center of Athens.

Ms. Zorba allegedly suggested to sculptor Costas Varotsos to transfer the “Dromeas” to Skopje in exchange for a statue from the North Macedonians.

The sculptor himself made the revelation, but the Minister of Culture denies it. However, after the Minister’s dismissal, Mr. Varotsos continued to insist on his allegations.

“Ms. Zorba asked for an appointment with me last Friday, at 7:30 in the afternoon. I went go earlier because I was confused and I thought it was at 7 pm. The meeting before me was the Biennale’s children in. Ms. Zorba just sat down and said, “I have an idea.” I asked her what that idea was, thinking she would talk to me about the Museum, about the problems that exist in our own space. But the Minister immediately tells me what would you say to bring Dromeas to Skopje with them sending a statute of Alexander the Great here?  I told her I did not understand, can you repeat your proposal?

Is it possible to say something like this? “Varotsos said, and claimed that the minister replied” Yes we have been thinking hre to send the Dromeas statue to Skopje ” She then proceeded to tell me how wonderful a city Skopje is and if I was to ever go visit that city I would really like it there. I started to get agitated. At some point, I told her that it is not possible to be discussing a matter such as this, it’s just simply unbelievable. Specifically, I told her, Then he told me that Skopje is a very nice city and if you go you will love it very much. I began to fret. At one point I told her it was not possible to discuss this. In particular, I answered, “I remain dumbfounded”. She continued to ask me to think about it and to see how we can do something to execute her plan “.

Commenting on the fact that the Ministry of Culture simply dismissed his statements, Kostas Varotsos said, “ I am stunned to no end, it’s like I’ve just fallen out of the clouds with the Ministry’s and the Minister’s conduct. I am offended by all of this. There’s no worse way for the Ministry or the Minister  to try to “clean this up”. I am not crazy, the dismissal by the Minister of Culture profoundly offends me.

“I would never give the license for the statute to be moved, particularly under these circumstances, it would be wrong. Perhaps politically it makes sense for them to do, but it would be a crime. I was stunned speechless twice lately by the Minister, once by the suggestion to move the Dromeas statue and the other by the denial that such a suggestion ever happened”, said the well-known sculptor and he added, “ I would like to assure the Greek people and say that the Dromeas statue is not going anywhere because I have the copyright laws on my side for the statute and I, and I alone, must give permission for the statute to be moved”.

The Minister of Culture, Myrsini Zorba, told the  “Athens News Agency”, : “There has been no proposal for the transfer of the Dromeas statue. Anything said contrary to that is baseless. Besides, the sculpture belongs to the Municipality of Athens. In the context of a general discussion with major Greek artists, including Mr. Varotsos, much was discussed and commented, but no such proposal came up at any point. My priorities are different, it should be noted that  well as any exchanges of monuments or changes in signs fall under the purview of other ministries. I am sorry for the useless commotion and moral panic that some have sought to create out of thin air “.

For her part, New Democracy’s Shadow Minister of Culture and Sports, Athens 1st District MP, Olga Kefalogiannis, made a statement on the whole situation of a potential Dromeas statue swap. She said, “It sounds like a terrible joke, but unfortunately it is not. This is a tragic affair. The Ministry of Culture, and personally the Minister, Ms. Myrsini Zorba, have to immediately clarify the inconceivable confusion regarding the allegations of a swap of the Dromeas statue with a statute from Skopje and they should explain to us how they conceived this “genius idea”. Whom does Ms. Zorba want to cover for with this in indelicate way that she treated an artist of this significance, seriousness and prestige of Mr. Varotsos?

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