Many thanks to Mato Ioannidou for kindly giving me permission to use images of her artwork Genealogy in this website.
This is what poet Maria Topali wrote about the series in catalogue of the exhibition at the Gallery Agathi, March 2-23, 2017:
Awe is the word I would use, if I had to put my impression in a nutshell, as I encounter these faces and their compositions. As I am not religious I have to clarify that this is about human awe: a dive into humanity through their eyes or maybe our eyes. It is not therefore accidental that Mato Ioannidou makes a reference to Greco: the artist par excellence, who humanized the divine.
Human awe means awe for all of us, us as a genealogy, us as species, us as an infinite series, us as mirrors of ourselves. The refugees depicted not as unashamedly isolated, not as objects of artistic exploitation, but precisely entangled with us. The refugees are amongst us, as we all could have been or become refugees. This exhibition is perhaps for me the first acceptable artistic engagement with the refugees’ crisis. The refugees as part of the multitude. It is in this multitude after all that past and present co-exist, the faces of the refugees and of the non-refugees-and it is only the challenge of such a conjunction that moves forward the act of seeing and the act of thinking.
Humans are of the past and of the present, they are men and women, refugees and non-refugees, children and adults- they are beings with a gaze. It is because of the gaze that painting exists. It is because of the eyes and for the eyes. This homage to the eyes and to the gaze is read as a bet, a challenge, a resilience test. We know that many people cannot look each other in the eye. Such a communication bridge demands an internal continuity, an inside folding into the outside. If there is a break in this transfer, the gaze hangs as a rope cut. The artist agonizes for those who bear the weight of the gaze throughout the centuries.
These paintings for us, the non-believers, are equivalent to a confession of faith.