NEW JERSEY *#8211; The Les Malamut Art Gallery in Union, NJ is showcasing an exhibit of fine art and photography by a Greek American husband and wife team from January 8 through March 13, 2009.*nbsp; Avi and Constantine Kiriakatis from Kenilworth, NJ, who have been married for 43 years, have titled their aesthetic show His and Hers.
*#8220;My husband and I were both born in Greece and met each other 10 years after we came to America,*#8221; said Ms. Kiriakatis. *#8220;I always loved to paint – I painted the Last Supper on the entire wall of my mother*#8217;s kitchen, and my first real project was doing a portrait of my deceased father-in-law. But I didn*#8217;t receive any lessons until after I was married. That*#8217;s when the colors really came to life.*#8221;
Kiriakatis added that eventually her passion influenced her husband, who pursued oil painting and photography after he retired.*nbsp;
*#8220;We both find it so relaxing and peaceful to paint by the shore, where we live,*#8221; she said. Kiriakatis, who is also the Vice President of Ladies Philoptochos from Holy Trinity in Westfield, N.J, said the duo often donates paintings to the church and plans on donating one from the exhibit as well. The couple has showcased their art at other private and corporate locations and donated many pieces to various organizations to raise funds for the needy. Kiriakatis has also given art lessons to adults and youth at Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Wesfield.
*#8220;Fourteen of the paintings at the exhibit are mine, and my husband has 12 paintings and six photos, all of which are for sale,*#8221; she said. *#8220;We gain much of our inspiration from being near the water, but it comes from various places. One piece that will be displayed at the exhibit was inspired by my deceased mother-in-law who loved to embroider and lived with my husband and I for many years. I created *#8216;Yiayia Embroidering*#8217; (9×11*#8217;*#8217; oilslash $300) in her memory. Another piece called *#8216;First Date*#8217; was inspired by seeing my children grow up and going on those first dates in their youths.*#8221;
Avi Kiriakatis has won several awards at the Union County Senior Art Show and the Festival on the Green in Union, NJ.*nbsp; Her pieces were also accepted for the New Jersey State Juried Show and Collectors Show sponsored by the Somerset Art Association. Constantine Kiriakatis has exhibited and won awards at various shows in New Jersey including the Union County Senior Art Show. Both husband and wife are members of the Summit Art Group, Westfield Art Association, Watchung Arts and Somerset Art Association in Bedminster. They have two children, Yiana and Chris, and are currently teaching their grandchildren George and Ava Leichtling to paint with oils.
The Les Malamut Art Gallery is located on the lower level of the Union Public Library, 1980 Morris Avenue Union NJ and is handicapped accessible. The exhibit operates during regular library hours, Monday through Thursday, 10 am to 9 pm and Friday and Saturday, 9 am to 5 pm. A reception and meet-and-greet with the artists originally scheduled for January 8 has been rescheduled due to inclement weather for the weekend of January 17. For more information or to become a volunteer member of the Gallery Board, contact Barbara Wirkus at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 908-851-5450.
Kiriakatis added that Holy Trinity Church in Westfield will host their annual art show in May. *#8220;All the artists are Greek American and we would love to have people come out to support a good cause,*#8221; she said.
What keeps this creative duo going? *#8220;Our love of art,*#8221; said Kiriakatis.