Soloúp – pseudonym of cartoonist Antonis Nikolopoulos — has a unique way of looking at things. For him it is important to comprehend what you are looking at and read between the lines. Therefore, he approached Ayvalik, Asia Minor the landmark of refugee Hellenism by creating a graphic novel and also an exhibit entitled “Soloúp. Ayvalik: A Journey through Time” at the Benaki Museum in Athens, Greece.
Soloúp enlists historical texts, documents and photographs in a journey from the Asia Minor disaster and the exchange of populations under the Treaty of Lausanne until now. He covers the story of three generations of refugees and refugee offspring. His guides are Photis Kontoglou, Elias Venezis, Agapi Venezis-Molyviatis and Ahmet Yorulmaz, whose stories are told in the book.
The exhibition, co-organized by Benaki Museum, Athens International Comic Festival and Kedros publishers, includes pages from the graphic novel, as well as sketches and original pages drawn with pencil. Meanwhile, it also includes photographs, sketches, old postcards and other items used for documentation and inspiration during the drawing process. Museum visitors will also have the opportunity to look through the various development stages required to create a graphic novel, from the script to the final product.
The exhibition includes valuable refugee documents, rare photos from the Asia Minor destruction, newspaper prints of Elias Venezis’ first publication, “Number 31328” and Photis Kontoglou’s sketches that were found when Soloúp was researching his book.
Furthermore, the National Bank of Greece Historical Archive, the Hellenic Literary and Historical Archive and the Public Library of Mytilene provided material especially for this exhibition.