“Open Window” by Lydia Abastado

Continuing its tradition of exploring the output of contemporary Greek Jewish artists, the Jewish Museum of Greece presented the exhibition “Open Window” by artist Lydia Abastado. The exhibition, comprising 25 paintings, was on show in the Museum’s Contemporary Art Gallery, and is the twelfth art exhibit organised since its inauguration.

Ms. Abastado’s work includes a series of drawings in ink as well as acrylic-on-canvas paintings, whose subject is the Etz Hayyim Synagogue of Chania. The artist’s palette is quite distinctive: black and white are paired with a single basic colour in each painting. Her technique focuses on form and volume, incorporating experiential elements as well as symbolic references.

“Starting from my own personal and emotional involvement with the subject, I created a series of clear, narrative images,” said Abastado. “My aim is to set off concepts and symbolisms, beyond their usual existence in a frame of reference, which is most often dictated by the accuracy of the image.”

Seeing the synagogue from intensely personal angles, Lydia Abastado captures peeks of the building, whose shapes and angles she records using a mixed technique. She matches a variety of elements and materials from diverse sources, much like the synagogue itself.

This is a significant space, a space unforgettable for the young bride. It is a place of gathering, praying, and learning, a place of meeting and of female rituals. It is a space full of spirituality and echoing with meaning, which the artist approaches from many aspects. Sensitively and tenderly, she lets herself be carried into tracing her own personal relation to the Synagogue of Chania and celebrates the building’s unique role in her life.

The Jewish Museum of Greece celebrates with her a very special monument of the Greek Jewish tradition, which recently became the target of a premeditated attack, but also the recipient of solidarity and support.