CULTURE

A bust of Stephen Saunders by Dimitris Economou

Almost three years after the cold-blooded murder of British Defense Attache Brigadier Stephen Saunders on June 8, 2000 – and while his widow Heather is in Greece with her two daughters where she appeared as a prosecution witness in the trial of those accused of committing the act that deprived her family of a husband and father – the bust of Saunders is taking its final form. The clay model of the life-sized bust is in Paeania, from where it will be sent for casting in the brass foundry in Vassilis Kaparos’s sculpture workshop in Aghios Stefanos, Attica. The bust is the work of multitalented artist Dimitris Economou, who studied in London, where he now lives and works, though he retains close artistic connections with Greece. His work, chiefly busts and full-body statues, can be seen in many cities in Greece and on Cyprus. He also specializes in masks of ancient inspiration, 50 of which he donated to a museum he founded on Lesvos. He has painted the iconography for churches in Greece and England. In 1999, he won a gold medal at the Venice Biennale. His work expresses his view that art, apart from its decorative value, must also teach. Art collector and museum director Ion Vorres selected Economou after Heather Saunders asked him to help her choose a suitable artist; she specifically wanted a Greek artist. Economou keeps up a workshop in Paeania, and Vorres had worked with him in the past on art matters, both when he was [Paeania’s] mayor and also as president of the museum that bears his name. The photograph shows the bust in the early stages. Heather Saunders asked the artist not to give the bust a military cap so that the eyes would gaze directly at the viewer. «I honestly didn’t expect such a close likeness of Stephen Saunders, since it was done only from photographs the artist had,» Vorres told Helbi. The brigadier’s widow, who visited the artist’s studio in London and watched the model being made, agrees: «The artist succeeded in creating the shape and expressing the personality of my husband,» she said. The couple’s daughters, Nicola, 17, and Catherine, 16, share her opinion. After much discussion and many alternative suggestions about where to place the bust – the garden of the British Embassy or in Filothei at the site of the murder – Mrs Saunders chose the main courtyard of the British Embassy school, St Catherine’s in Kifissia, a school her late husband loved and strongly supported. The bust will be unveiled during a charity event to take place in the presence of Heather Saunders, at the Vorres Museum on June 6, before it is moved to its final site. The event is being organized by the school to raise money for the Language Resource Room to be built in memory of Saunders. The organizers hope to see representatives of the relatives and friends of all those who have been victims of terrorist action.