Athens NowHere

Portfolio created: 2016

The African dust arriving from the South covers the city of Athens, once again. Every few years, the phenomenon reoccurs hiding the city from the face of the earth leaving behind a sence of uneasiness, as if we have lost our way, our sense of direction.

It so happens that for long time now this is exactly how we feel. Lost.

For many years anger has been alternating with grief, shame with fear, while the horror of imminent disaster leaves us empty, staring into a void. It has been quite some time that our lives are regulated by sophisticated financial terms: recession, inflation, IMF, sustainable economic growth, spreads… Each and every one of us watches events unfold, silently, in front of the TV screen, or loudly, in the streets outside.

Yet, there comes a moment when one wonders how did we come to this? How were we so mistaken in thinking that our future could be better, our children would have the same opportunities we had and live a better life than their parents? It appears that this is not the case anymore. Obvious as it may seem now, we were caught off guard, and life changed on us while we were not paying any attention.

Located between East and West, literally as well as metaphorically, we permitted our cities to expand in order to accommodate people coming from all over the country to seek a better future in the capital. Nearly half the population gradually gathered in Athens forcing the city to spread towards all directions. We created a private home with little regard for public space. We silently accepted illicit construction only because it was deemed “democratic”. We bent the rules, took certain liberties and once the final outcome was out there for us to grasp, we remained in awe of how chaotic it really looked.

Athens Nowhere looks at the face of this ancient and at the same time contemporary city, in an attempt neither to beautify nor to cover any of its shortcomings but to narrate its story as it unfolds. It takes a critical distance and looks the cityscape for what it really is: the cause of actions and its effect.

The cityscapes under heavy dust presented in the portfolio are portraits of a country under constant stress, faced with both financial and moral collapse. At the same time, they represent a return to the basic qualities that make this country what it is, a land that extends hospitality and solidarity to all those in need of a helping hand and a safe refuge. They are my day and night, the reality I experience and the dream I hope for.

They are the country I, too, helped to bring to its knees – and the country I too need to rebuild from the beginning.

This is my country. I intend to stay.