Yanni Pounartzis is a Canberra based artist. He was born in Canberra and moved to Sydney where he became a professional artist after attending the National Art School in 2004. In that time, Yanni developed a distinct style of minimalist abstract paintings with a focus on geometric hard-edged work, painted freehand. He has exhibited in numerous galleries in Sydney including two solo exhibitions at the highly reputable Gallerie Pompom, Sydney (formerly MOP Projects). Yanni’s work was quickly recognised by the Arts community and was featured in the ABC Art Show, A-Z of Contemporary Art, hosted by Andrew Frost. He has was also featured Art Edit Magazine and included in the Sydney Morning Herald’s ‘Spectrum’. In 2014, Yanni spent 6 months painting in Berlin and was part of a group show at Salon Dahlmann. His time in Berlin gave him the opportunity to further develop his painting skills and experience the Berlin art world. Yanni returned to Canberra in 2015 and has had three exhibitions since, notably ‘The Lost Plans’, which was based on the Griffins’ original plan of Canberra and was opened by the ACT Arts Minister. Additionally, Yanni was part of the Design Canberra Festival in 2018 where exhibited the ‘Geometric Shadows’ in Petrie Plaza.
2020 is the year our fundamental needs were compromised. In January, our lives and our health was under threat as bushfires swept across NSW. The choking smoke forced us to seek refuge in our homes and to wear masks whenever we ventured out. In February, our lives were under threat again with COVID- 19. For the first time we had to isolate and keep our distance from others. Suddenly there was a new normal. Face masks became a familiar sight and social distancing became a way of life. Meanwhile in America, George Floyd was killed by an officer who kneeled on his neck. America screamed: ‘I can’t breathe’, which also sparked anger thoughout the world. For me, the common thread in these events is oxygen. The bushfires stopped us from breathing in clean air. Covid 19 stopped us from breathing freely. And George Floyd lost his breath entirely.