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MAZI, Dimitra Psychogyou

Dimitra Psychogyou is a versatile, idiosyncratic, imaginative and inventive creator. A graduate of the Vakalos school, a student of the hagiographer and university scholar Georgios Kordis, she is engaged in book illustration and teaching painting and sewing in the "Petra - Scissors - Paper" workshop that she founded and directs. She also paints fairy tales on shoes, which are available through her own brand "Nadeen Shoes & Accessories". He has illustrated 24 books by Greek and classical foreign authors, in collaboration with Ankara, Metaichmio and Parrisia publications. The fairy tales The almond tree and the moon and The gardener of the sky , with text and illustrations by herself, were published in 2006 and 2009 respectively by Ankara, while the third book entirely her own, a tender parable with the title Together , was released in October 2016 by En Plo publications.

Although at first glance the Together looks like a children's book (horizontal page orientation, hardcover, illustration dominance), it's actually a little story full of poetry and contemplative beauty, aimed primarily at teenagers and young adults, but also adults. It tells the varied emotional journey of a girl from dreamy loneliness to ideal coexistence and symbiosis with a beloved creature, to the pain of sudden loss and the final reconciliation, as much as possible, with the inevitable, irreversible events of life.

Neither concept is, in fact, self-sufficient – ​​more often than not, each presupposes and implies its opposite. "Together" means "not apart," that is, ironically, coexistence involves potential separation. The presence of a friendly, loving creature automatically creates the "negative space" of his absence, perceived objectively (to those around him) and not subjectively (to himself). His young heroine Together , moreover, she constantly projects herself – like all of us – in the animate and inanimate environment, how she perceives and interprets, consciously or subconsciously, the world: "And at night she read fairy tales to the stars until they fell asleep, closed their eyes them, to be extinguished..." (she, and not the stars, is, of course, the one who reads until she falls asleep and closes her eyes to sleep).

Despite all this, the exotic bird that one day visits her and becomes her inseparable companion in her activities and mental journeys, giving them the unprecedented dimension of "togetherness", is not given anthropomorphic characteristics. The girl accepts him as he is, respects his different nature and implicitly adapts her life to his needs, just as he willingly compromises in part with her own everyday life. After all, this is the essence of love – the self-evident mutual yielding and at the same time the recognition of the individuality of the other. Regardless of whether an unexpected, final disturbance of harmony gives rise to doubts and question marks afterwards that it is not clear whether – and how much – they reflect the thoughts, motives and desires of the one who feels them or the one to whom they concern: "If he had built a bigger nest, if it had been caged, would it have stayed? Should he perhaps get a nicer one, forget it?''

Here, the cause and form of the sudden separation are stated without explanation or detail: "The storm took the music of the air." In any case, any kind of loss and especially death – the violent, irreversible deprivation of the presence of a loved one or any other being – is always experienced traumatically and on a purely emotional, subjective level, it is considered unfair and incomprehensible. The successive stages of mourning, from the initial denial to its acceptance and the gradual healing of the wounds, are described without melodramatism, with the allegorical epigrammaticity that distinguishes the entire text, reinforcing the core of its meanings.

Highly distinctive as well as tasteful, the style of the illustration refers to popular painting and Byzantine hagiographies, as well as to the old reading books of the primary school, with strong touches of poetic abstraction that define its distinctive stamp and attract the modern eye. The beautiful images with their bold color palette, as well as the alternation of colors and the ebb and flow of the characters of the typeface, bring to life with exquisite vividness the attitude or movement of thought, the changing emotions and the accompanying mental states.

The Together it is a special book, "welcoming", touching and consoling at the same time, which attempts with its thymosophical sweetness to smooth out the difficult contradictions of human tragedy and show the way to some, even distant, light: "Where the wind rests. .. Where anything can happen! Listen, listen... What the wind takes... love brings!”


Dimitra Psychogyou
Illustration: Dimitra Psychogyou