Ποξιάς (Poxiàs)

Ποξιάς (Poxiàs) 2014, mixed media installation, dimensions variable, Larnaca, Cyprus, exhibition view.
Ποξιάς (Poxiàs) in the Cypriot dialect addresses a square piece of cloth or many pieces of scrap clothes stitched together to form a sort of container to wrap or carry goods as a bag before its invention. Nowadays, it is rare to hear the word ''poxias'' or to find bibliography about this term. The homonymous object ''poxias'' has been replaced by suitcases or bags, now long forgoten.

In ancient times it was used by many cultures and counties like Japan, Korea, India, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Peru, with a wide range of names. In Cyprus, it was used during the war by the internally displaced them as a meanas to salvage whatever they could and run away. Every Poxiàs is a world on its own and belongs to every one of us, a self-contained planet in our infinite universe.

Poxiàs (2014) represents traveling for salvation, displacement, and migration. It is a metaphor for the body, a vessel containing thoughts, emotions, experiences, and memories, a mental container. It is as if you were carrying your world! It is a symbolic migration in time and the mind. The homonymous production of the collective-collaborative work is a microcosm in our infinite universe.

The thesis project was carried out with asylum seekers in Cyprus, in the reception and accommodation center of Kofinou, in the District of Larnaca.
The reason why I chose to work with these people is to be found in the recent history of my country, Cyprus, invaded and partly occupied by Turkey in 1974. As a result, the island is still divided into two territorial entities: on the one hand, the Republic of Cyprus, an independent state recognized by the international community and on the other, the "occupied zone'' recognized as a state only by Turkey. The invasion caused so much pain, deaths, missing people, numerous acts of violence, and thousands of displaced people, forced to move within their country in search of accommodation. They left their homes, properties, and neighborhoods and ran away with what they could save, often only themselves.

For my art therapy thesis I contacted the Cypriot Ministry of the Interior in May 2014; the project was approved in the summer of the same year. With the approval, I was granted the necessary permission to attend the center of Kofinou. The sessions took place from November 17th to December 19th and it was essential to create two groups, one for women and one for men, for reasons of culture and religion. The project was structured with biweekly meetings lasting two hours for each group. In total 9 meetings, 18 hours, and 23 participants, of which 11 women and 12 men, of various ages and nationalities.

Through the theme of forced displacement, the participants were motivated to explore and use various artistic languages rather than verbal communication. They were able to explore their body as a container of themselves and as part of the world, able to awaken from monotony and torpor. They have been encouraged to take care of themselves, thus equipping them with tools that make them feel good wherever they go. Later, using the fabric as a second skin, they were invited to wrap themselves, their feelings, and their memories, to create a new mental container, their bundle.

The workshop was separated into two parts: the first involved using the body for participants to intoduce themselves, mobilize, and understand the countless creative possibilities it offers them. The second part considered the introduction of fabric as a sensory medium. With the use of acrylic ink group members created their personal world followed by a collective world that concerned everyone, as in a sort of psychic reorganization.
The exhibition was held in the city of Larnaca, to facilitate the participants in the workshop from a logistical point of view, POXIAS was exhibited along with the photographs of each bundle.

The idea of the work is to travel and make its story known.
The work itself has ''traveled'' and has been later exhibited in 2015 at San Domenico in Crema in Italy within the exhibition L'opera condivisa (The Collective Work of Art), in 2016 at Macro (Museum of Contemporary Art) in Rome in Italy within the context of Talent Prize2016 where it won the Special prize: Premio Speciale Piccini Group, in 2017 at Torre dei Lambardi in Magione Perugia Italy for the exhibition Donne di Colore ( Women with colour) and in 2019 at the former barracks Emanuele Filiberto Polmare in Trieste Italy.

Made on