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Maria Arvaniti: Nolens Volens  (Like it or not)

23 June - 23 July 2022

Maria Arvaniti is of Greek origin from Thessaloniki, now living in London.   She has early, lived memories of the creation of hand-woven and knitted textiles that traditionally and currently form part of dowries in remote, village areas in Greece.  Usually created on a loom by young girls aspiring to get married and their close female relatives, these textiles signify social status, family wealth and a woman’s ability to maintain a tidy and beautiful household. Having lived abroad and through her international network, Arvaniti is aware of similar creations of dowries, for example in Latin America or in Africa.

Inspired by similarities between her own experiences, and visual memories of the dowry, Arvaniti works with woven artworks, duplicating found tight patterns and bringing her painting into the 3D, which has been a long term concern of hers.   By lifting the work away from the loom, she has astutely indicated the intrusive and binding nature of these social practices by using pieces of folded paper that nest one into the other to form a whole. The finished works have a sharp, uncomfortable, unusable, almost dangerous surface in energetic bright contemporary colours.

In this recent work, Arvaniti has set out to examine a range of thoughts and feelings that principally women, or any individual may be experiencing through other similar social phenomena in the face of uncritically perpetuated societal norms. The strive to be a free individual.

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