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The Ypapanti Chapel & Juliette May Fraser
In the village of Vavili (7.5km from Chios) at the southwestern corner of the Kampos plain is one of the island’s most unexpected treasures—the minuscule chapel of the Ypapanti (the ‘Purification of the Virgin’), whose interior is entirely covered with * murals, painted in 1963 by Juliette May Fraser (1887–1983), an artist from Honolulu. (The chapel is c. 200m north of the main village church of Aghios Nikolaos, on ‘Odos May Fraser’. Key kept in house opposite and slightly further north.)
The majority of Juliette May Fraser’s work has remained in the Hawaiian islands where she was born and died, and where she was commissioned to decorate the State Library. While working in Athens in the early 1960s she volunteered to paint these murals, together with the artist David Asherman, as a gift to the village. The outside of the chapel is decorated with geometrical patterns in sgraffito (partly coloured), recalling the distinctive exteriors of the houses in Pyrgi. The interior is fresh in colour and clear in design. Not unexpectedly, the scenes are a hybrid of eastern and western, Byzantine and representational, modern and ancient; the perspective comes and goes; the scenes are sometimes (such as the Presentation itself) in local topography, sometimes in eternal landscapes; a musician angel plays an accordion, another has Hawaiian physiogmony. The whole is unified by an airiness and overall brilliance of colour, and is executed with such genuine joy that it provides a valuable counterpoint to the island’s wealth of early Byzantine art— one of the best examples of which, the Panaghia Krina, is to be found nearby in the foothills, 2.5km west of Vavili.
Chios Island is part of the Northern Aegean Island group
Chios town and the Kampos area.The Ypapanti Chapel & Juliette May Fraser.