Google Greece and you’ll get a series of cliques: aquamarine waters, olive groves, beaches, people in Grecian robes.
In my participatory sculpture project “To Know a City”, I explored how, as an outsider, we get to know a destination and its people.
I made a pencil drawing of a laurel wreath, a stereotypical Greek symbol and popular item of fancy dress in the UK, as a starting focal point. This object was then re-claimed and explored as a modern Greek object.
I set out to create a personal dialogue with local residents by exhibiting a series of wreath sculptures inspired by my initial impressions made during a one-week residency in the city. For each wreath, I sought for a wearer – an Athenian owner to model it and be photographed.
When we travel, we’re armed with preconceptions from our own country. And as we explore, we often miss out the very people that shape the place we’re in, and instead focus on ticking off bucket list sites. In creating these wearable wreaths, I want to invite Athenians to interact with my objects, and try them on if they choose, as a way of getting to know the city.
The resulting portraits, and wreaths, were displayed in a solo show “To Know A City” in central Athens. The residency was part of ‘One Artist a Week, run by Christoph Ziegler at FaveLAB.