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  • Onassis Foundation (USA)
  • Middle East Institute
  • Blinken European Institute
  • Program in Hellenic Studies
Irini Gonou art piece

Exhibition Reception and Opening:
September 25, 2013 at 6:15pm
Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University

The Sheltering Word represents an artist’s quest to explore the healing and protective power of the written word as a specific cultural idiom and takes the form of a dialogue between Greek and North African cultures.

Using entirely natural materials such as cotton fabric, handmade paper and natural inks, reeds, leaves and linen twine, Gonou suggests an interpretation of amulets, “inscribed” talismanic cloths, and “sheltering word” pinax, and thus invents a new magical language in the realm of “written protection.” Working with these raw materials, Gonou is at once meditating on their medical-magical-protective properties and their symbolic meanings. Poetic language has replaced the magic formulas in the artist’s work, raising the question of the healing properties of art in a modern society.

The exhibition will be on view from September 25 until October 22, 2013 in the Heyman Center lobby and Board Room. The Heyman Center is open to the public Monday through Friday, 10am to 5pm. Photo ID is required for entry.

See pictures from the opening on our Flickr page.

Special thanks to our co-sponsors the Onassis Foundation (USA), the Middle East Institute, the Blinken European Institute, and the Program in Hellenic Studies at Columbia University.

  • Irini Gonou Visual artist