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English (b. Cyprus)

(Alexander Georgiou)

Psyche, 1988
gouache on paper
British (b. Cyprus)

Perifimou was born Alexander Georgiou in 1916, near the town of Nicosia on Cyprus, and immigrated to Great Britain in 1935. He worked as a tailor and chef, and served in World War II.

In 1973 he became a guard at the Royal Academy, and later at the Tate Gallery. To pass the time on his watch, he began to draw, and was noticed by Victor Musgrave, an important figure in the contemporary London art scene. As Monika Kinley writes, “In Greek, ‘Perifimou’ means “the famous one.” It was his father’s nickname, which he took for himself after Victor Musgrave referred to him as a ‘visual poet.’” (1) In 1990, Perifimou retired and moved to the country with his wife and continued to make art until his death in 2001.

Perifimou’s work has a fanciful yet secretive quality, and seems to encapsulate mysterious narratives in bold, colorful figures and forms.


(1) “Perifimou (Alexander Georgiou) 1916-2001,” in Raw Vision, 38 (Spring, 2002), 8.

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