Photographer Maria Stefosi carried out a project of artistic and historical research into the emblematic schools of Greek communities from the. Her journeys for photographing the educational institutions began in 2021, with support from the J. F. Costopoulos Foundation, and were completed in 2022.
The artist’s photographic trek is conveyed in the art album Schools’ Enciomium. Mid-19th – early 20th century. From Constantinople to Odessa and Trapezounta, from Smyrna to Argyrokastro and Alexandria, designed and edited by herself and financially supported exclusively by the AEGEAS Non-Profit Civil Company.
The presentation of educational institutions that served as havens of learning and culture in peripheral Greek communities is certainly a major chapter in the history of education. The educational activities of unredeemed and expatriate Greeks during the times in question is a fascinating subject that demonstrates their enlightening role in the Balkans—and beyond—around the twilight period of Ottoman rule.
These are the institutions that hoste whole generations of Greek educators and students, gave concrete form to the vision of outstanding figures and benefactors for the Greeks’ intellectual and national awakening. The publication aims and aspires to leave a photographic documentation of all these buildings and their attendant historical memory as they try to resist oblivion and the inescapable wear of time. Indeed, photography as an artistic event proposes its own ‘reading’ of history, enlists and triggers emotion and constitutes a unique historical narrative.