Maria Papanikolaou

Maria Papanikolaou

Athens School of Fine Arts
New York University, A.S. Onassis Program in Hellenic Studies
Art History and Theory


Maria Papanikolaou is an Athens-based artist and a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Fine Arts. For more than a decade, she has been exploring, both as an artist and a scholar, the dynamic relationship between art, public space and society. Maria holds a degree in Law from the University of Athens and a BA in Fine Arts from the Royal Academy of Art in The Netherlands. In 2011 she acquired an MA degree at the Athens School of Fine Arts and in 2012 she embarked on her PhD research. Throughout her studies, she has received numerous honors and awards, including two scholarships for undergraduate studies (IKY, HSP Huygens) and four scholarships to pursue post-graduate degrees and PhD research (Onassis Benefit Foundation, A.G. Leventis Foundation, Foundation for Education and European Culture). Additionally, she has participated in important exhibitions in Greece, Germany and The Netherlands.
Maria’s current research elaborates on the study of graffiti and post-graffiti practices in the Athenian public space. Her multidisciplinary educational background allows her to examine multiple aspects of these practices, including legality issues as well as painting techniques and public participation. Graffiti is considered today one of the most important contemporary art movements worldwide and although it began 50 years ago, it is still practiced by thousands of people around the globe. It emerged from the US society in the 60s and starting from neighborhoods like the Bronx it spread literally everywhere and eventually arrived in Greece in the 80s. Ms. Papanikolaou will attempt during her research project at the New York University to understand the origins of graffiti at its birthplace. She aspires to bring this knowledge back to Greece, where graffiti and its successor, street art, are undeniable constituents of our quotidian experience, but still remain on the sidelines of art history and theory.

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