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Niki Gleoudi

The memory of things

GLEOUDI

How do Greek immigrants perceive their country of origin? Which are the “material and intangible testimonies and identities” carried by Greek immigrants? On the occasion of a symposium held by AUTh’s Inter-University Postgraduate Program “Museology-Cultural Management”, in 2017, Niki Gleoudi videotaped and recorded, both in audio and paper, recollections and narrations by the Greeks of Diaspora, shedding light onto the unseen bond between people and their distant homeland as expressed through objects: A jar of thyme, grandmother’s silk nightdress, a small wooden boat ornament, a couple of pebbles.

The Greek photographer recalls:

“In summer 2016, distinguished Art History and Museology Professor Matoula Skaltsa, in collaboration with the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, assigned me the task of conducting a series of interviews with Greeks living in the US for research purposes. Once each interview was over, I had to take a photo of the interviewee holding a household object that embodies Greece. Ι was surprised to see the outcome of this project showcased at an exhibition titled “A Passage”, hosted at the Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art in May 2017, which included the photos and portraits of these people, accompanied by a video-installation.The outer goal is to found a diaspora museum at some point, exhibiting all these objects that speak volumes of their place of origin.”

The exhibition and the symposium were held within the framework of the “Greek Diaspora and Immigration” research program, carried out under the auspices of the US Institute of International Education and the Fulbright Foundation, and are financed by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center. In addition, the Diaspora Research and Immigration Initiative (DRIMMI) was presented, an interdisciplinary body that focuses on Greek Diaspora, immigration and refugeeism.

Niki Gleoudi