The‘Mati’ or ‘Mataki’, a traditional object in modern Greek culture, is a glass talisman resembling an eye that is believed to protect against all evil forces and negativity. The symbol of an eye is one that is often associated with warding off evil in many cultures, from North India to the Middle East and through the Eastern Mediterranean to North Africa.
Generalis’s artwork is comprised of numerous protective eyes formed by pouring water soluble enamel paint into egg cartons. The use of the egg carton further stretches the metaphor of protection as well as perpetuating another Greek Orthodox symbol, that of the egg as the human soul. Viewed from afar, the eyes form the figure of a sparrow taking flight, which links to the song sung by the UJ Choir.
Paired with the tragically optimistic His Eye is on the Sparrow, Generalis’s work delivers a message of hope in these uncertain times, and proposes that something is looking out for us.
Have a look at Yannis Generalis’s ‘Prophylaxis (Greek: Protection)’ and listen to the UJ Choir singing His Eye is on the Sparrow – Charles H Gabriel, arr. Ben Bra