Bettina Papadopoulou ∙ 2013 ∙ Philologist

Man, a victim of the atrocity of fascism

The painting exhibition by Giorgos Ioannidis, at the Italian Cultural Institute of Thessaloniki titled ‘Prometheuses’ Places’, includes works for which the artist has been inspired by the verse novel with the same name, written by the physician-writter Marianthi Aleipheropoulou-Chalvatzi.

So the two artists meet through their creations, which aim at serving the same objective: to help man derive power from his own power, from legends who, by having worked for the humanization of human beings, have demonstrated how highly man can raise his stature, overcoming all adversities. In his fight against the toughest type of tyranny and authority he juxtaposes the bareness of his body, but not of his mind, which possesses indestructible weapons, such as knowledge, faith to values and ideals, such as collectivity, companionship, justice and freedom. Nature bows to the greatness of man, him that has the power to become stronger, when he is endowed with the virtues of the modern Prometheuses. 

At the centre of interest in the artworks of Giorgos Ioannidis is the person that experiences the dire deadlock of the present social – political system, which is based on the exploitation of man by other man. The actual type of slavery is at times imposed by capitalism in the shapes of portly horse like monsters with kind refined features or at other times in its most brutal and merciless form, that of fascism.

Man becomes the victim of the brutality of fascism, which acts unmanly and insidiously, becoming sometimes a snake or the black dogs of the oppressive system. The snake is in many occasions curled up around the tree of life, which in the end will produce leaves or around a cross of martyrdom, a symbol of religion, which is utilized in order to commit its most atrocious crimes.

The ordinary fighter, which is a renaissance figure, raises his stature in order to achieve absolute freedom, both his own and of all humanity, which is in pain. His body is healthy, robust and naked so that the chastity, the innocence, the purity of his mind and heart are highlighted and in order to be transformed into an ecumenical symbol. He is a luminous figure. He receives light from the sun, the most invigorating element of the nature, and he illuminates all humanity. He becomes a symbol of the outmost sacrifice, symbol of freedom and justice, optimism, victory of life against death, light, beam of light, lighthouse which will always inspire the struggles of all people until their final vindication.

However, in his artworks that are inspired by Makronisi there are also skeletal figures, which became bony because of the violence and the state of fascism that has abused their bodies, but was stunned by the power of their mind and their hearts, surprised by their tolerance, endurance, and the fighting spirit of the current Prometheuses in Makronisos, who have spent their lives serving not the profit but, but the human being, whom they place into a paramount value, just like life itself. A life that is inspired by the collective acts, solidarity, companionship and which matures while the man’s struggle takes place under the most tough conditions, whereby degradation, humiliation and death are always present  in the agenda. 

The red flag of the revolution is in the hands of the young people, of those who are illuminated by the light of the modern Prometheuses and vow that they will continue the fight of the fighters, who depart due to physical death or due to their violent displacement in prisons, exiles, torments. These young fighters, who are still just kids, do not hesitate to continue the struggle despite knowing the dangers that lurk in every step they take. This is a history lesson of the kind that only the people can write, when they accomplish significant feats. Our creator looks at the past so that he can derive knowledge, power and optimism, which are necessary for man in order to demolish entirely the old rotten world and to build the new one.

Bettina Papadopoulou 2013 ∙ Philologist