Anastasia Nikakis creates with intention.

Before she draws a line on her canvas she spends months thinking and preparing the grounds for an exploration -both personal and universal- that will come full circle only when her artwork is complete.

What she loves most is the human form, the human experience, the Melbourne-based artist told Neos Kosmos, ahead of the opening night of her exhibition ‘Allegory’, Threads of Connection and Disconnection.

“The concept of this exhibition began during the pandemic. It is an exhibition about humans, and their relationships, the way they communicate with each other. The pandemic highlighted our lack of communication, our isolation, which is why I decided to do this exhibition.”

Greek Australian visual artist and sculptor, Anastasia Nikakis. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

For the past three years the Greek Australian artist, has worked on a series of drawings, paintings and sculptures, mostly stark and monochromatic to convey the palpable sense of sorrow, the profound grief and loneliness that can accompany the search for self-acceptance, and the longing for connection with each other, the land we inhabit, and the animals with whom we share the world.

“But I also wanted one or two of them to be completely different from the rest,” she says referring to her last painting, ‘Society’, which is full of colour. In this painting, people from all walks of life come together in a kaleidoscope of hues, representing the diverse spectrum of personality, gender, individuality, and sexuality that defines our modern world.

‘Dream’: A couple stands locked in an eternal embrace, their bodies entwined in a dance of intimacy and connection. Every curve and contour of their forms speaks to the depth of their bond, while the subtle play of light and shadow lends an air of timelessness. Though rendered in paint, their figures exude a sense of solidity, as if they have been carved from the very bedrock of existence. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

Diverse souls stand scattered, their differences celebrated rather than shunned. Woven throughout the painting are threads of connection, binding these different souls together in a shared journey of humanity.

From a very a young age, she would sketch incessantly.

“The pencil was the most accessible to me. And that is why I return to the pencil for some of the artwork in this exhibition, as I go back to the first thing that drew me to art as a child.”

Though she was born in Australia, she grew up in Greece. She went on to study fashion, before settling in Melbourne, where she raised her two daughters.

‘Ego’: Diverse bodies are scattered, each enveloped in the cloak of their own ego, distinct and insular. Despite inhabiting the same physical space, these individuals remain isolated, their thoughts and desires encapsulated within the confines of self-absorption. Yet, amidst the fragmentation of ego, threads of vulnerability emerge, weaving a tapestry of shared humanity and interconnectedness. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

Fifteen years ago, she was ready to give art another go, and try to make it a profession.

“I studied for a diploma in Art for three years, which helped me get back into industry, and even learn sculpture, which always fascinated me.”

Her studies brought her in contact with other people who loved art, and drawing, and from then on, she has evolved purely through every-day practice and the love for all that she does.

‘Adam,’ depicted with a stoic countenance, is etched in sharp, angular lines, reminiscent of the rigid constructs that define his existence. Yet, amidst the stark geometry, there lingers a sense of longing – a yearning to reconnect with the primal forces that shaped his being. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

Looking back, she says how happy she feels that she can make a living out of what she loves to do.

“It is a recognition, as I have had several setbacks in my life. It’s not easy to find your edge, to make a career in the art world, or even the fashion world.”

Anastasia Nikakis has had several solo exhibitions and participated in various group exhibitions and events, including the Association of Sculptors Victoria of which she is a member.

‘Society’: Diverse souls stand scattered, their differences celebrated rather than shunned. Woven throughout the painting are threads of connection, binding these different souls together in a shared journey of humanity. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

Her achievements have brought her immense satisfaction and a sense of being complete. The only hard part, is when the time comes to show her art to the world.

“Art comes from the soul, so it is a bit like being stripped naked in front of everyone,” she says. But to expose herself, despite her vulnerability, has helped build courage, which is another part of this journey she feels proud of.

There are many artists who inspire her, like Bahram Hajou, a Syrian-born German artist. However, the two artists whose influence has been constant over the years are Auguste Rodin and Gustav Klimt.

‘Eve’ emerges from the paper, her form a symphony of circles that ripple with the echoes of creation. Each curve and arc tell a story of connection – to the earth, to the creatures that inhabit it, and to the spirit of life itself. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

In the art that stands the test of time, there is a large emotional aspect, she tells us.

“The emotions you feel from the painting itself or the emotion with which it was created. In my case I feel emotion with archaic sculptures and classical works, which I find timeless and perfect. The reason I find classical paintings and sculptures timeless is because of the skill with which they were made by the artist and the level of realism.”

But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t love modern art.

‘We are One’. Photo: Supplied/Anastasia Nikakis

“Modern art is more open to the viewers’ interpretation, and although I make my art with a lot of feeling (in a more classical style) the reason I incorporate both archaic and modern themes is because I want the viewers to have a chance to see their own interpretation.”

Anastasia Nikakis, is grateful to Just Injury Lawyers for their support in her upcoming exhibition ‘Allegory’ which will be launched on Friday 24 May, 6-9pm, at 110 Jolimont Road, East Melbourne.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 25-31 May from 11am-8pm, with closing night to take place on 1 June 4pm-8pm.