Maria Papanikolaou’s artworks focus on the fantasy, the act and the attestation of escaping from an oppressive environment. Inspired by her first degree in law and her practice at the felonies’ department of Athens Supreme Court, Maria combines personal testimonies, tales, myths and historical facts in order to create artworks based on fictional escape stories. Throughout history, thousands of people have been trying to escape from slavery, fascist regimes, poverty, war, immigration detention centres and imprisonments of all kinds. In the project Self-Fashioning Escape Objects, she designs the objects these people fashioned themselves in their attempt to escape, using all available materials and ordinary, everyday items in incredible innovative ways.

Maria Papanikolaou is an Athens-based visual artist and a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Fine Arts. She graduated with a law degree from the University of Athens (2004) and later acquired a degree in Fine Arts from the Royal Academy of Arts, The Netherlands (2008), and a Masters in Fine Arts from the Athens Superior School of Fine Arts. She is also a recipient of two PhD scholarships (Onassis Foundation & IPEP). In her work, Maria uses a variety of art media in order to redefine the concept and visual representation of gaol. Inspired by her first degree and by practicing law herself, she has chosen to express herself through forms that point out to the human will for life and freedom. She has exhibited in Greece and in the Netherlands, including solo exhibitions, e.g. Pitch, Expodium, Utrecht (2006); Art-ID, KunstVLAAI, Amsterdam (2008); Filmhuis, The Hague (2008), Kessanlis ASKT (2011), National Museum of Contemporary Art (2013). She is a member of the Art Platform Vital Space and a participant of WDW Review, an online magazine issued by Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art.


Vasilis Koudouris (Video and sound mastering of the video “Self-Fashioning Escape Boots”), Dimitris Lazoulos (construction assistance and consultancy, providing equipment and facilities), Petros Nousias (colour correction)