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Nikos narrates the story of an item that belongs to Nuran, one of his students at the Piraeus Open School for Migrants.

There is this very good friend of mine from Dresden who teaches fine arts and directs performances in Berlin. One day, Barbara (that’s her name) and I  decided to do an interactive class with her students from Germany and my students here. We decided that we wanted to work together on a subject related to rebetiko. Her students would choose some songs and we would combine them with visual arts. At the end, the students from Berlin would come here with Barbara for our school’s closing celebration, and work with our students. 

Essentially, we had online classes for a whole year on rebetiko, we walked through many notorious neighbourhoods in Athens, like Metaxourgio, we had discussions… There was one rebetiko song, “Take my ring..” (“Pare to dahtilidi mou…”), that there were a lot of positive impressions about. The students from Germany had chosen it and O., who really liked it, took it over. He took a photo of a grenade, the ring of the grenade that is, because he wanted to connect the song with images he had from the war in Iraq. Many different things came out of this project.

In all of this, there was also Nuran, from Turkey, who had left  her country in the night because she was being abused by her husband. She got on a boat with her two daughters and came here. That was before Covid. Nuran had chosen “Zaira I’ll come steal you one night” (“Zaira tha ertho na se klepso mia vradia”) and was discussing the song and the lyrics, saying that it reminded her of what she had been through. She created a huge painting, with a woman on a boat with wings and some shadows.

“I am on fire” (“Kegome”) also did very well.  A handful of coals had been placed and, above them, the sound of fire, which was connected through a computer. The students had worked together in putting the whole thing up. There were 10 songs and Barbara’s students had helped greatly. There was also “Οn the seaside’s pebbles” (“Stou gialou ta votsalakia”), for which they had placed ice cubes and two wedding crowns together. 

So, Nuran brought the painting and this boat. Sounds of the sea were playing through a laptop, as well as protest chants that Barbara had recorded in Germany. We did the exhibition here at the school.


Creator of object:
Nuran Demikirian
Place / Country of creation:
Year / Era of creation:
Nikos Agapakis
Type / Description of object:
Handmade pirogue
Object route:
Greece (Piraeus)
Year / Era of movement:
Reason of movement:
License of digital image:

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