Nicholas Panayi’s solo exhibition 2009 at the Apocylypse Gallery in Markarios Avenue in Nicosia – a must. The opening fell on a day when there were four other events. But let us be honest: one should go to the opening to honour the artist, to meet friends, to display one’s knowledge in art, have some nice intellectual talks and a couple of free drinks. But, and here it comes: to really see the pictures and study the technique you have to go on another day, best in the late mornings. Nobody is there to disturb you with outcries of enthusiasm, perhaps you secretly touch the canvas for the texture, put double glasses on, just to understand why the artist has done it the way he has done it and you can take all the photos you want to take them home to study.
You need this kind of time for Nicholas’ paintings and we, my artist friends and I, were totally satisfied to have the gallery rooms for ourselves on the day before the exhibition closed. We had finally made it.
There were some large acrylic paintings I knew from his studio when Nicholas Panayi was working on them. People and faces and spaces, with bold strokes, light, incredible light and relations, faces emerging from dark rooms, depth. Scrolls, paper, endless, figures tumbling from heaven, few colours. Scrolls with transparent layers over them, two different layers of paintings, two different readings, some had windows cut to offer a glance into the inside, what is behind his façade, what is behind my façade, come and have a look.
Most surprising were Nicholas Panayi’s small sized behind glass multilayer pictures. We had to look twice and shook our heads to get rid of a veil in front of our eyes; there was none, the frames contained two or three sort of transparent films printed on, painted on, an illusion of standing in a doorway and looking into a long corridor, if you can follow my thoughts. Including collages of materials and scripts, some on plywood as ultimate background.
The titles of his 55 pieces of art mostly had to do with divided cities, with immigrants, with the suffering of minorities, with memories of his many art travels he undertakes with students of his art school, impressions of people and music, but always in the foreground is the relation of man to his conditions of life.
One of my friends said when we left, deep in thought: “Yes, I take home some imprints on my mind.”