What we find in the work of Naya Yiakoumakis is a redefinition of her identity through a collection of commemorative photographs, portraits of the members of a family that defines itself as a separate entity. Each photograph is a memento that might be described as alchemic. The wax covering the lithographic film plays its part in the metamorphosis of the substances of the image.
The wax coating functions as a healing layer that is transmitted to the interior of the image in a continuous breathing action. This vibration of the material is discernible in the flow/fissures in the waxen surface.
In the measure that the commemorative material concerns the experiences of a past in which alterations in the initial material are identified in a posterior time, the work is in the end the product of different temporal periods, reconciling the initial, momentary, experience, with a second, more recent and more permanent.
The second temporal process reactivates the energy stored in the initial material, highlighting its value. Naya Yiakoumakis uses her recent impressions in a concealed material, urging the spectator to bridge the two poles, initiating a continuous dialogue.
The initial dis-continuity of the souvenir material itself, with the metamorphotic process of the wax coating, finds the spectator differentiating the photographic memento from the experience of anonymity. The representation of the commemorative material is a declaration that nothing is lost, nothing can be forgotten.
The wax, bearing witness to the organic composition of life, becomes the sustenant of the reality of these family portraits. But what we have designated sustenance is also preservation, and the material preserved is also that which seeks to avoid oblivion.
Family portraits stress the sense of absence, without ceasing to function as mementos of their loss, just as the wooden image at the Eleusinian Mysteries was a present attestation of the absence of life. These photographic mementos are a confirmation of the simultaneous and paradoxical preservation of the ephemeral and absence of the permanent.

Costis Velonis

Born in Athens in 1967, Nayia Yiakoumakis began her studies in photography at the FOCUS School in 1986, then continued in England, first at the West Surrey College of Art and Design (up to 1989) and afterwards at the London College of Printing (up to 1991). Since then she has been teaching photography. She has taken part in group exhibitions in London and in Athens, and will present her first solo exhibition as part of the Photosynkyria 98.