Leaving behind

Writing in memory of Ioannis Antoniou who died last week, I browsed through the pages of a book dedicated to his artistic
career during 1985 – 1994. I spent some time looking at photographs of his work.

I was particularly drawn to an interview spread across the back pages of the book, which he gave in 1992. The interview delved in and out of his work and philosophy, where he spoke about time, about our human existence and what we leave behind, elements he focused on a lot in his most prominent work entitled ‘Suitcases’.

I very soon became acquainted with him. As I followed his footsteps through his artwork, I realised his every step was like
walking up a ladder; one step led to the other but also took him to other planes, not coincidentally but as a matter of continuity.

It wasn’t until I went to put this book to the side that I came across his signature, resembling an outline of a man tagged at the end of this name. Drawn in a biro pen, I couldn’t help but stroke it. And as I did I consequently felt his disappearance.
I recalled his own words that were imprinted in the book, about his ‘Suitcases’.

As he explained, his work “talked about what we have experienced, what we have offered on earth at the moment of our departure’. Before coming across his own signature I was content to ponder about experiences, what we aim or not to leave behind while we are very much alive.

But as I looked at his signature staring at me from the pages below my eyes, I also thought about the experiences that Ioannis will continue to give to generations to come. Many more, I assume, than he could ever have imagined.

Published in The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, 14 September 2013

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