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collections > permanent collection > sculpture > peter j. calaboyias
Peter J. Calaboyias
(American, b. Greece, 1940)
Power Symbol, n.d.
Steel, 23 1/8” x 14 3/8” x 8”
Anonymous gift (78.002)

Known for his suggestive abstract sculpture, Peter J. Calaboyias derives much of his imagery from his Greek heritage.  Ancient armor, stories from mythology, and other Greek themes have informed Calaboyias’ work almost from the outset of his career.  Power Symbol, however, is an atypical piece; according to the artist, it relates to the social unrest of the late 1960s.  Evocative of an upraised fist, the welded steel piece is akin to the Cubi series of David Smith, an abstract sculptor whose work was an early influence on Calaboyias.  The sculptor saw the work as an experiment, and he did not afterwards attempt to invest his art with social commentary.

Born on the Greek island of Ikaria while his mother was visiting relatives, Calaboyias spent much of his early childhood on the run from Nazi forces in Greece and North Africa.  After finding refuge in the Belgian Congo, the Calaboyias family was finally reunited with the father in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, in 1946.  The artist spent the remainder of his youth there, subsequently pursuing studies at New York University and Pennsylvania State University.  Earning a Master’s degree in education at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Calaboyias commenced a dual career in teaching and sculpting.  He has shown his work consistently since the mid-1960s, and over the succeeding decades, he has gained a significant reputation for public sculpture projects in Pittsburgh and elsewhere.   Perhaps his best known work is Tribute, a large outdoor sculpture made for the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta.  Slightly damaged in a pipe bomb explosion at Centennial Park, the sculpture was credited with shielding many people from the force of the blast.