Kolokotronis in the prison of Nafplio (1833)

“Having been accused of treason against the adolescent at the time Othona (Otto), he was thrown into the prison of Its Kale in Nafplio, on September 7, 1833. Greece had embittered her own heroes on many occasions, especially at times of transition, when the power is in the hands of foreigners, not worthy Greek citizens. Morias’ old man himself, who reached the age of 63, wrote in his memoirs at some point:

‘They put me in jail secretly for six months without seeing anyone but the prison warder. For six months, I had no idea what was going on, who was alive, who was dead, if they had another person in prison as well. For three days I didn’t know if I existed, it was like a dream. I kept asking myself if it was me or someone else. I had no idea why I was locked in. As the time went by, it crossed my mind that maybe the government, seeing how highly the people thought of me, put me in so that my influence would wear off. I never thought they would go so far as to present perjurers.’

In April, 1834, the trial began. Valsamakis and Clonaris were his advocates. Many false witnesses paraded, but also men of heart and morals testified. Two judges, Polizoidis (president) and Tertsetis (member), resisted. However, under the pressure of the then Minister of Justice, Konstantine Shinas, both Kolokotronis and Plapoutas were convicted to death.

Some time before the execution of the sentence, the king granted them a reprieve. That was not the end of their torments and injustice though. They were transferred to Palamidi to a “more secure place” for another eleven months. When Othonas ascended the throne, he finally released them. As Kolokotronis himself said “The way people welcomed me made me forget all the misfortunes I had been through”. Only a man of his grandeur could utter words like these after all his suffering.

We go down a few steps to a paved room. It is natural the visitor’s eye be directed to the theme of Pavlos Melas. They fully comprehend this composition along the way, when they realize why I placed the two themes on the same axis: high up is Kolokotronis triumphing and down the prisoner. Such contradictions always make us sad – the way our fellow patriots, our heroes are rewarded.

I captured, photographed and designed the prison of Kolokotronis in Nafplio. To make this composition I used bricks, cement and colors to depict on 1:1 scales the original place of Its Kale. Solid walls form, in essence, an opening – hole, a small dark and damp room with no windows. In this place lived moribund The Old Man of Morias, the Hero, the Father of Victory…

Concluding this section, I feel the need to say that I chose the figures of Kolokotronis, Nikitaras and Makrigiannis, knowing they gave their heart and soul to their Homeland and Cause; instead of being recognized and justified, they received bitterness. All these three well known heroes along with many others, known and unknown alike…”