The Eagle and the Snake

The story begins like this …

From friends and relatives from the fiesta I did before I left soldier I collect a little money. Before leaving for the Army service I bought a large trunk of the eucalyptus from Michael Halkiadaki, his place was located one kilometre before Arolithos outside Heraclion. The cost then was 45,000 or 50,000 drachmas and I gave more 5000 drachmas to the loader to load and ship it by truck. I left the trunk outdoors for about a year. When fired from soldier I started the ‘Eagle’.

I remember I made a wooden hut next to the road at the point where it is now the site of the Museum. That time this place was a place for our sheep and goats. I started to cut the big parts I did not need before transferring it in the basement of our house to continue the work. Next to the road I made the head with the body. After we moved it to my house with the help of several villagers (!) and I continued. The wings and legs, except the nails which are lemon wood, are from olive wood. This part was given by George Koutantos or Lawyer. The wood for the Snake or Serpent, as we say in Crete, is a brunch of an old olive tree which broken from the snow in the place called ‘Kamarakia’. This kind of old olive tree, ‘chontrolia’, is a kind of olive that makes big, fat olives, the wood donated to me by Dafermou Sofia. The basement room finally where I completed the eagle was full! To build the line I should take the wings out of the house and then match the tail, otherwise I could not mount in the room. I made the wings watching a small plastic likeness of an eagle that I bought from New York of America going to visit some of my friends.

The Eagle was built to move in 8 different places: the tail, the body with the head, the wings into 3 pieces, legs and snake. I exposed this work twice in my village square. There were references to the Cretan channels and in local newspapers and on both occasions. John Dafermos or Dimarchogiannis, grandfather living in Axos, wrote a poem for this project which I quote:

The eagle of Axos
An eagle appeared from Psiloritis
the wings covered over Crete.
Axos chose the eagle to sit down
And in the platan tree and the fresh water to spend its Easter.
The proud eagle stretched its wings
embracing Axos as his hometown.
The eagle flew to Axos and arrived
snake is holding in its talons to eat.
Come to see foreign people from all over
the eagle at Axos with a radiant look.
The artist of the eagle, who lives near the fountain,
congratulations, happy to live!
Axos birth to children and hard working properly
flying like birds, in Crete and abroad.
Give congratulations to the new artist
be happy his mother and his father who have him!
Mantinades wrote that always cheer you,
the artist’s grandfather, known Dimarchogiannis!
Deserve warm congratulations anyway
too much praise, to George Koutanto!
John Dafermos or Dimarchogiannis, Grand Saturday, May 4, 2002

Also Manolis Manias from Axos wrote the following ‘mantinades’ when I exposed this project in the village square:

The snake which was in Axos adding poison
is seized in the claws of the Axos hawk.

The eagle appeared to kill the snake,
so it will not eat the birds and they will grow.

In Axos the eagle did its nest
and photographers and foreign visit its birds

All the world’s birds in Axos are well come,
all to build nests we are not going to bother them!

We wish all the villagers (to the sculptor) Happy to live
to marry to see children and grandchildren to began developing!

He who created this Hawk
his nickname is Giorgakis Tsakalakis!