Two figures and a “kiss” adorns a block of flats at Avdi square, in Metaxourgio, located north of the historical centre of Athens.
The mural created by internationally acclaimed Greek artist Ilias Papailiakis embraces both residents and passersby, highlighting the value of human contact, even in times of social distancing, such as the present one.
“The work expresses a certain and unique moment between two people. Love, desire, tenderness, proximity, and awareness of the other are some of the issues echoed in these few lines. Showcasing the work in the public realm aims at encouraging the dialogue in a city meant for meeting and being with each other. An emotional city,” said Papailiakis.
The artwork was commissioned by the Onassis Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organisation.
“The kiss depicted in this mural is a universal image for everyone to identify with, regardless of gender, age, and ethnic background. Athens’ public space is enriched with a valuable artwork promoting dialogue, kinship, the idea of meeting and being with each other,” said art critic Christopher Marinos.
“Papailiakis’ ‘The Kiss’ is a deeply human-centered, easily comprehensible and, at the same time, complex, ambiguous artwork, full of meanings. A contemporary artwork for a contemporary city. Today, Athens is much in need of works breathing a hopeful, vibrant, and joyful air, works that defy a simple decorative purpose, and give rise to reflection and debate. Papailiakis’ mural paves the way, as an example of a fresh approach to the public art in Athens,” he added.
Athens lies at the core of the Onassis Foundation’s work: the city combined with culture, the citizen as a creator, and the creator as a citizen, towards an emotional city.
“The Onassis foundation is presenting a series of works on which to rest and refresh our gaze. Works that bring us comfort, and give us pause. In neighbourhoods that needs a breath of fresh air,” said Afroditi Panagiotakou, Director of culture at Onassis Foundation.