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Hippocrates, the Latest Ice Sculpture to Grace Astoria Park

February 13, 2021

ASTORIA – While many New Yorkers see snow as an inconvenience, others see it as an opportunity for artistic expression. In December, following the first significant snowfall of the season, Greek artist Marios Tzavellas created an ice sculpture of a Greek god in Astoria Park, along with fellow artist Melissa Vadakara, according to the Queens Daily Eagle.

"It was an idea of the moment, I started for fun. I have not done it again. The only difficulty was the cold that bothered me. Initially, I tried to make a snowman, I liked the texture of the snow. Then I thought it could look like a statue and that's how this person came to be, who could be Poseidon, the god of winter or snow," Tzavellas told The National Herald.

The team has since created two more ice sculptures, including an ice queen after the February 1 snowfall, and most recently, the Father of Medicine, Hippocrates of Kos.

The seated sculpture, 6 1/2-feet tall, features Hippocrates holding a rod of Asclepius, the symbol for medicine and health, the Astoria Post reported.

Vadakara told the Post that the artists “envisioned the sculpture as a symbolic protector for the neighborhood from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“He’s overlooking the park, watching out for everyone’s health,” she said, the Post reported.

Vadakara “estimated the Hippocrates sculpture took five hours, which was three hours less than their previous piece,” the Post reported, adding that “this time they had a shovel to speed up the process.”

She said she “hoped the snow art took viewers’ breath away in surprise,” the Post reported.

The snow sculptures have become popular on social media “with more than a thousand people marveling at pictures posted to a neighborhood Facebook group,” the Post reported.

The ephemeral nature of the snow sculptures was evident as warmer temperatures left Hippocrates down to his torso and legs only by February 9, the Post reported.

Vadakara said that “she and Tzavellas plan to build more snow sculptures later this week if more than three inches accumulate,” the Post reported, noting that “the pair might pick a new location — to mix things up.”

“Marios and I, we love that park,” Vadakara told the Post.

Tzavellas is originally from Himarra and has been living in New York for the last two years. He studied at the School of Fine Arts, had many exhibitions in Athens, Corfu, Tirana, and Amsterdam, and also created chariots for the carnival in Chalkida.

He has been painting since he can remember, “And when I do not make art I try to make my life look like it. When I make something, I like to feel more than I think," he told TNH.

He decided to immigrate to the United States two years ago as he has relatives in New York. “My grandfather came here and I have many relatives. I came to find my roots.”

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