‘Thanatos: Death Personified’ photographic exhibition coming to Sydney


Photographers Effy Alexakis and Yanni Dramitinos join with painter George Michelakakis to individually provide their personal introspective, interpretive visual offerings on the theme of death in an exhibition at The Shop Gallery located at 112 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe in Sydney.

Titled Thanatos: Death Personified, the exhibition will run from October 26 through to November 1 from 12 noon to 6pm daily.

Opening drinks will be on Saturday, October 28, 4-6pm, followed by a special ‘in conversation’ event on Sunday, October 29, featuring Professor Vrasidas Karalis with writer George Alexander discussing their recent experiences of death. Author and lawyer Effie Carr will mediate the session, which will run between 4-6pm.

Within the exhibition, the works of all three artists capture the known to mediate upon the unknown and arguably the unknowable. Some aspects may shock visitors, some may entice deep engagement, faith, and re-evaluation, others may enforce disillusionment or an intimate foreboding of what may await. What it is to be alive, knowing Thanatos (death) awaits us all? What is it to have been alive, but no more.

Effy Alexakis. 1. Death mask, Grave Circle A, Grave IV, Mycenae, Peloponnese, Greece, 16th century BCE.

Alexakis’ work embraces a juxtapositioning of ancient Greek, Greek Orthodox and ancient Egyptian ritual, ceremony and human emotions, empathy and individual spirituality.

Effy Alexakis. 2. Exhumation, Sykea, Laconia, Greece, 1985.

Dramitinos dwells upon the physical and personally spiritual through his wonderings amongst the generations of gravestones in Sydney’s Waverley Cemetery, where the celebrated and uncelebrated in life lie indistinguishable from below, but recognisably different from above through their monuments of memory; this photographer utilises the silences between the tombstones, their forms and inscriptions to decipher attitudes to lives lived and death memorialised.

Yannis Dramitinos. Perfect Tease 1.
Yanni Dramitinos. Perfect Peace 1.
Yanni Dramitinos. Perfect Peace 2.
Yannis Dramitinos. Perfect Tease 3.
Yanni Dramitinos. Perfect Peace 3.

Michelakakis evokes the socio-political effects of institutionalised religion upon individuals and society and the face and understanding of death if one considers the ‘death’ (absence/non-existence) of a personified God.

George Michelakakis holding one of his works titled ‘Ephemeral’. Photo: Effy Alexakis.

Life is not possible without death. Human kind is mortal. But is it a cycle of birth death and rebirth? Or does death annihilate life, totally – does it lead to nothingness? Plato and Aristotle theorised about the immortality of the soul, and religious traditions consider that life does exist beyond death. But since the Enlightenment, rationalism has cast God and religion into the abyss of the irrational. Yet, the mystery of a ‘life’ beyond clinical death remains.

The exhibition wrestles with difficult concepts, questions and emotions. Those visiting will certainly be left with much to consider.

Thanatos: Death Personified, the exhibition will run from October 26 through to November 1 from 12 noon to 6pm daily.




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