Art for life

A celebration of life through art is the inspiration behind local artist Frixos Ioannides' exhibition which will raise funds for cancer research

For three years, Frixos Ioannides watched in awe at the way the staff and doctors of the Peter MacCallum Cancer Hospital attended not only to his wife, but to all their patients. Each day, he would watch people come through the doors with hope that the doctors could help, and watched the medical staff work tirelessly to battle the devastating and avaricious illness, cancer.

It’s been a year since Frixos’ wife Dalia passed away from her battle with melanoma and all Frixos wanted to do was express his gratitude to the team of medical professionals who, through sheer dedication, helped his wife with her serious illness.

I’ve been trying not to live with grief, but to escape from it if I can because it’s just too hard to live with, day in day out,” Frixos tells Neos Kosmos of this recent emotional journey.

“You begin to feel life is a gift and you need to make the best of it; you need to make the best of life by living it and not cry about it.”
And that was his motivation; to create an event that celebrates life.

The purpose of the exhibition ‘Art for Life’ is to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the passing of Dalia. Through the exhibition, they will raise much needed funds, with 20 per cent of proceeds from sales being donated to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation. In addition, donation envelopes will be available at the gallery for anybody who wishes to make a private donation to the hospital.

“Cancer is a very serious illness and often there is no cure. It’s just a case of pain management,” says Frixos.

“So I thought perhaps with a charity event we can help the hospital with its funding as it’s always looking for funding for its research.”

Alongside Frixos in the exhibition are local artists: Eros Anceschi; Daniel Bushaway; Efrossini Chaniotis; Jenny Dumont; Viviana Gutierrez Gracia; Paul Laspagis; Michèle Meister; Sofronis Michaelides; Nathan Patterson and Tina Sideris.

He says the response from the artists has been incredible, with most artists set to reduce the price of their work to encourage more people to buy.
The artists are either first or second generation migrants and one indigenous artist, Nathan Patterson.

“A few of them are from Greek heritage because I know them personally,” says Frixos. “Overall, it’s a good range of artists and mediums, and a good mix of cultural backgrounds.”

Eleven artists, including Frixos, will participate in the exhibition with a wide diversity of artworks including paintings, drawings, photographs, computer art and jewellery.

“My wish is for something like this to happen on a regular basis, like once a year, or once every two years,” he says of this exhibition, “so that a percentage of the proceeds go to a charity.”

The theme of the exhibition is to celebrate life while remembering loved ones who passed away, hence the name of the exhibition ‘Art For Life’. The exhibition will be officially opened by the Honourable Heidi Victoria MP, Minister for the Arts.

Many people have helped in the planning of this exhibition. Frixos would like to acknowledge two sponsors who generously provided their services to promote this event: Ellikon Press for printing the invitation cards and postcards, and Vision Signs for printing the posters which will be used to publicise the event. In addition, the assistance of several volunteers is gratefully acknowledged. Special thanks go to Efrossini Chaniotis, one of the participating artists, for her encouragement, valuable expertise and input into the design of the poster and invitation card as well as the general planning of the exhibition.

In addition to the framed artworks on the walls of the gallery, there will be a stall of small unframed items which can be purchased for $50 or less and be taken by the buyers straight away.

“I wanted to do it in a way to express my gratitude for everything [the Peter MacCallum Cancer Foundation] did for Dalia in the three years she was there as a patient.”

‘Art for Life’ will be held at Steps Gallery, 62 Lygon Street, Carlton. The exhibition will be officially opened by the Honourable Heidi Victoria MP, Minister for the Arts on June 19, 6.00 pm and will run until the 27 June. Entry is free.