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"The Kiss" mural rises 72 ft above Metaxourgio

The Onassis Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Athens Culture, Sports and Youth Organization, has unveiled 'The Kiss' painting by artist Ilias Papailiakis’ sending a note on optimism and life amidst the pandemic.

The painting has been transformed into a mural at Avdi square, in Metaxourgio, the Athenian downtown neighborhood, across the New Municipal Gallery of Athens.

"'The Kiss' evokes a vivid sense of life and optimism, and starting of today embraces both residents and passersby, highlighting the value of human contact, even in times of social distancing, such as the present one," says the Onassis Foundation.

The internationally acclaimed Greek artist’s work that adorns the facade of the Giatrakou street block of flats, and rises up to 72-feet high, seeks to offer a sensual delight amongst the city’s dense web, as well as an opportunity to rest our sight and express our feelings, the very moment we face it, it adds.

“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. The minimalism of the lines comprising ‘The Kiss’ is reminiscent of Yannis Moralis’ relief mural on the facade of the Hilton Athens, while the immediacy of the image and its message lures the passersby. As any other ‘Kiss’ in the history of art, like the ones created by Rodin, Klimt, Brancusi, Warhol, and all the artists that dealt with this theme in the past, Papailiakis’ mural sends a message of unity, and hones our senses. A private moment, at times public, especially among young people, is here rendered monumental. 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.” - Christopher Marinos, art critic.

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