After years of curating a
constellation of projects in and around Athens, locus athens is exploring a new
format: founding a home
in the area of TAVROS. Our medium sized non-profit space, opening in October 2019, will
be the springboard for our need
to respond to the social and political circumstances around us, by
exploring notions of democracy, equality and ecology whilst looking to address
these issues head on through dialogue, listening and learning.
Inspired by our locality,
which takes its name from a mountainous region in Turkey (Toros
Dağları) from which a wave of migrants
arrived and settled in the 1920’s, our program will reflect our belief in the
transformative potential of shifting perspectives and moving minds and bodies
through our relationship with art.
By using a variety of tools:
exhibitions, research, commissions, educational programs, talks, screenings,
development funds, and community work, TAVROS aims to be a welcoming, open and
democratic space dedicated to embracing and enriching relationships between
with artists of diverse
backgrounds and with the local community and creating a space for unheard,
threatened or marginalized voices.
Tavros was first inhabited in
the 1920s by refugees from Asia Minor, in an area which used to be an extensive
olive grove and where many rivulets of the Kifissos flowed. Like all the
refugee settlements at that time, they were positioned at a distance from the
center of Athens. Often in the winter months the precarious settlements, at the
time not much more than shanty towns, would be flooded by rain. Nearby food
markets alongside the slaughterhouse led to the fast development of the area –
the refugee population providing labor for the new surrounding industries.
As the city developed, the
landscape changed, gone were the groves, whilst the rivulets were cemented. In
the 1950s the Ministry of Welfare developed much needed social housing, still
standing today and facing
our space TAVROS. The inhabitants of Tavros were key to creating a
working-class identity for the area, as a center of resistance in WWII, for
ensuing class struggles and later for the headquarters of neo-Marxist groups.
In recent years, new waves of migrants have inhabited the area, providing labor
once again for Tavros’ small scale industries but also new stories of shifting
identities. Tavros now, is a hybrid area where large-scale corporations, non-governmental
and cultural organizations, universities and schools, small scale industries
and the 1950’s refugee houses stand side by side. It is one of the few areas in
the center of Athens where you can still find large green expanses that allow
you to dream.
TAVROS is a project of locus athens,
curated by Maria-Thalia Carras and Olga Hatzidaki.
For further information on previous projects – www.locusathens.com
All photographs (unless otherwise stated): Dimitris Parthimos