Georgia Metaxas Photo Exhibition: “The Mourners”

| 03/01/2014

MELBOURNE | An innovative photo expo is being presented at the National Art Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, titled The Mourners, and the photos depict Greek women of Melbourne, dressed in “women’s weeds,” an entirely black outfit worn as a symbol of perpetual mourning following the death of their husbands.

The works of this exhibition belong to renowned Greek photographer Georgia Metaxa, who’s had numerous successful solo exhibitions in her career that have been held in many places in Australia.

The Mourners is a series of portraits documenting the ritual of wearing black as a signifier of perpetual mourning. In remembrance of those they have lost, all that sit for a portrait in the series wear black every day for the rest of their lives.

The controlled environment of a traveling studio replaces existing backdrops of nursing home corridors, living rooms and church halls. Stripped back to the point where only the faintest trace of the sitter’s surroundings remain, the portrait brings the viewer to the periphery of an ultimately private space.

Deflecting the unflinching eye of the camera with an averted gaze, the women are absorbed by the void that is black, living mementoes – vessels for mourning, fixed by a photograph, which in turn alludes to a double death.

Georgia Metaxas lives and works in Melbourne, Australia. Her work sits within a documentary framework, aspects acknowledging her interest in documentary photography and the tension found between ‘artistic’ intent and documentary purpose. Portraiture is at the core of her work and is examined predominantly through universal rituals and gestures. Metaxas employs a considered and deliberate approach, a conceptually inspired rendering drawn from the chaos of reality.

Metaxas has exhibited throughout Australia and recently, abroad. She has participated in a number of group exhibitions and her work has been selected for numerous award exhibitions, including the 2009 Centre for Contemporary Photography’s Documentary Award, Melbourne and the 2012 National Portrait Prize, Canberra.

In 2010 her work was included in the Big City Press monograph Hijacked Volume 2: Australia and Germany. In 2011, Georgia was awarded the Fundacion Botin Residency Award facilitated by Paul Graham (UK), in Spain. In 2012 Georgia was awarded The Peoples Choice Award in the Monash Gallery of Art Bowness Photography Prize.

Her work is held in both public and private collections including Artbank, City of Yarra Arts & Heritage Collection, La Trobe Picture Collection; State library of Victoria; Monash Gallery of Art, Wheelers Hill and the Supreme Court of Victoria.

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