Islahane, a former orphanage and technical school of the city of Thessaloniki, was created in the middle of the 19th century and during the last period of Ottoman rule. The term Islahane was a neologism of the time and was a compound word: it consisted of the Arabic root word islā which meant arrangement, restoration and –hane which meant house. Islahane was a "Restoration Home" for orphans and poor children.
The Cultural Center meets today with the artistic production "Byzantine Bath, Meetings-Thessaloniki".
Digital artists and performers from Greece, Russia and Mexico collaborate in Islahane presenting their works about War and Refugee.
Christina Tsadekidou with her work "Be Prepared to Go Home" confronts this difficult love of the uprooted person, the refugee for the new land, the new homeland. This is the middle fighting man that the ships "In Boats" from Natalia Ludmila's work often lead in absolute darkness (darkness of decision, movement, information). Her work makes evident what we know only in fragments: refugee and also migration is a forced movement.
Olga Guse's visual animation, "The Pray" is our entrance or exit to the question of the means we have to stand and shape our ideas and actions as people in the face of a difficult life, without separate, without moving away from each other.
Is there another kind of language, another form of communication? With feelings and images(*).
Katerina Anastasiou's digital work "MANEFOVI" and the interactive performance with the public "after- MANEFOVI", unify the space of Islahane with the Byzantine bath through an unreal story of four women who "come alive" through a Byzantine wall painting. Their secret communication takes the powers of the butterfly, the spider, the scorpion and dissolves the spell of women's silence. It releases their longing for human contact. To approach each other, to enter the world, to unite with it.
The production of the Byzantine Bath meets Islahane as both places also served needs different from those for which they were originally created: They were public, social spaces. They were meeting places, shelters for the poor even for a night, help for those who were lonely and weak, places that reflected a culture of care, in wild and unpredictable worlds.
Photo credits: Vilma Mavromatidou, Anestis Paraskevopoulos, Thanasis Tsiliggoudis // Out of FoCus 2014
Art in Public space is a live experience