Media artist Katina Bitsicas visited Elon University Feb. 6 to showcase personal loss of a loved one through grief and growth titled ‘In Memoriam’ through video, photography and an Instagram account. The showcase memorialized her father who passed away from Mantle Cell Lymphoma during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Elon students and faculty came together at Arts West to observe Bitscas’s work and to learn how she coped with the loss of her father.
Elon freshman Allison McCarthy attended the exhibit after her art professor invited her Art 4020: Advanced Projects in Drawing and Painting class to learn about grief and passion through visuals.
“We have the chance to get cool insight on visiting artists like Katina,” McCarthy said. “I'm an art major so I think it’s very interesting to learn about new artists that I’m unfamiliar with to really broaden my horizons.”
McCarthy said that Bitsicas’s art was something she hadn't seen before, especially the printouts of her Instagram profile titled, @farewell_father.
Bitsicas washer father’s caregiver and documented her journey through a daily journal on Instagram to help others who are also struggling with grief. She said that she was granted the opportunity to take her exhibit to Elon a year ago.
“There was an open call process for artists, and they looked for a variety of mediums, so I think they wanted an artist who worked with media,” Bitsicas said. “The work is a tribute to my father that passed away during COVID, where there were no funerals being held.”
Bitsicas said that she makes performance-based rituals as the ones shown to act as memorials for her father.
“The flowers, ribbons and wool burial shrouds are biodegradable, so each one of those shrouds represents a member of my family, and the flowers are in a skeletal-like pattern, representing the body,” Bitsicas said.
A video on the wall showed the process of embedding the flowers into her artwork and creating an abstract to honor her familial history.
“The ribbons are red jute — I’m Greek, so in Greece, they tie red ribbons around headstones to symbolize you’re thinking of them, and you’re still connecting with the individual, even though they’ve passed on,” Bitsica said.
Bitsicas’s exhibit is located in Arts West Gallery 404 and will be on display through March 10.