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2023, mixed media
dimensions variable

“When I visited the Hamidiye Temenos in Chios for the first time, I looked up at the circular stained-glass windows and my eye fell upon the wooden indoor balcony.

– What is that? I asked. – It’s the women section.

I then envisioned braided velvet hair on its railings with braids hanging down and people walking under and between the braids.”

Maro Michalakakos creates an in situ art installation* dedicated to all women, to life, to freedom. Red velvet –a key material in Michalakakos’s practice– covers the two levels of the Temenos, signifying the dynamism and vitality of femininity. A braid of monumental size peeks out of the window and gradually morphs into tree roots as it touches the ground. Similarly, interweaved velvet remains enclose the upper gallery of the mosque, which overlooks the entrance, while earthquake cracks emerge like open wounds, as the light floods through the windows
on the left side of the hall.

A parallelism to the female presence that becomes one with life, spirituality, history, nature, time. A womb inviting us to dive into its red waters and to bear up against the power of the emotion that gushes forth. The poetics of Michalakakos’s work is juxtaposed with the history of a site of prayer, a place of testimony to the political
and, above all, human history of the peoples of the Eastern Mediterranean.

Akis Kokkinos