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Monday, October 8, 2012


(Antonia Gialerakis with one of her mother's paintings)

Antonia Gialerakis was born in Durban, the daughter of well-known former Head of Carmel College and SABC newsreader and presenter Andrew Gialerakis (known in his broadcasting days as Philip Armitage). Her mother was the late artist, Hilary Gialerakis.

Antonia Gialerakis studied Drama at the University of Natal (now the University of KwaZulu-Natal) and later worked as a radio actress for the SABC before leaving for London in 1984 where she now lives.

In London, she has pursued a successful career in fashion, working with a variety of international luxury brands. She has since completed her first novel and commenced work on her second.

In September 2008, she curated a retrospective exhibition of her mother's paintings. While compiling this exhibition, she decided to put together a book which she has titled An Unquiet Spirit: The Memoirs and Diaries of the Artist Hilary Gialerakis.

“Hilary Gialerakis lived a colourful, tempestuous life until her death at the age of 79 in 2003," explains her daughter. “She endured a lifetime of illnesses, mystery afflictions and treatment by doctors, psychiatrists and various counsellors from a variety of different disciplines.

"In writing her diaries - started in 1924 and put aside in 1973 - Hilary very frankly and openly discusses her various "conditions" - both physical and psychological,” Antonia Gialerakis continues. “It’s almost with relief that she arrives at the conclusion that she is perhaps nothing more than "An Unquiet Spirit”.”

Despite the turbulence of the years, Hilary – who also exhibited under the name of Hilary Lorenzen in South Africa – painted a great many paintings, many of which met with critical acclaim.

Shortly before her death, Hilary posted the writings to her daughter Antonia in the hope that this might bring them closer together. In sharing this - often painful - testament with a wider audience, An Unquiet Spirit is a story of fortitude, daring, courage – even humour – as well as sure proof that the creative life is often the only respite in the most despairing of situations.

An Unquiet Spirit by Hilary Gialerakis will be launched today (October 8) in Central London alongside a major retrospective exhibition of her paintings and drawings. The book will be available in November. Retail price £18. 9780704372849

For more information and to see some of Hilary Gialerakis’ work, visit