Memorial to Michalakis Karaolis (Μιχαλάκης Καραολής)

Μνημείο Μιχαλάκη Καραολή (1)n Μνημείο Μιχαλάκη Καραολή (5)n Μνημείο Μιχαλάκη Καραολή (6)n Μνημείο Μιχαλάκη Καραολή (8)n

Artist: Thanasis Minopoulos 

Location: Dimostheni Severi Avenue, Nicosia. Nicosia district

Material: Brass

Dimensions: 4.5 meters in total height (2.30 meters the statues + 2.20 the wall)

Category: ΕΟΚΑ 1955-59

Photography: Evangelia Matthopoulou

The initiative for the memorial was taken early in 1967 by the Pan Cypriot Guild of Civil Servants (ΠΑΣΥΔΥ/PASYDY) which called an artistic competition in 1967 and coordinated the fundraising. The unveiling took place on October 28th 1967.

The memorial consists of a commemorative marble wall divided in three parts. The central part is protruding and, on the top it bears the sculpted complex of three young men, almost teenagers by their looks. The standing young fighter is holding his gun and his motion conveys the intensity of the action. The other two are arranged in a way which is reminiscent of Michelangelo’s Pieta with the difference being that the female figure of mother or motherland, common in war memorials, is substituted by a co-fighter or fellow civilian. The almost nude dead emphasize the vulnerability of the wounded body and the ephemeral life. At the same time, the triangular arrangement of the figures underlines furthers the antithesis between the living and the dead, and culminates the tension which accumulates to the standing youngster. The impression of the realistic snapshot is invoked by the random expressions on their faces, the variety of the gestures and their emotional postures.  

Below the sculpted synthesis, a brass bas relief with Karaolis’ portrait in a medal is inserted on the wall. Next to it, an inscription notes: “Martyr in the name of Freedom and Greece / memory attributed immortality to you by placing you on this pedestal / You show to our children the way of honor” (Της λευτεριάς και της Ελλάδας πρωτομάρτυρα / η μνήμη αθάνατο σ ανάστησε στο βάθρο τούτο / το δρόμο της τιμής να δείχνης στα παιδιά μας). 

The central part of the memorial is flanked by two wider marble surfaces on which two bas reliefs illustrate, respectively, the sufferings of the enslaved Cypriots and the struggle of the fighters for freedom. 

Selected sources:
~ Μάχη (Mahi), April 18, 1962, p. 6.
~ Πατρίς (Patris), September 9, 1967, p. 3.
~ Χαραυγή (Haravgi), January 7, 1965, p. 5. 
~ Χαραυγή (Haravgi), February 24, 1965, p. 1, 5.