Chrysalis | Olga Stefatou
With the support: Rosa Luxemburg Foundation
Duration: October 8, 2021-February 20, 2022
Venue: MOMus-Museum of Contemporary Art-Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art and State Museum of Contemporary Art Collections
In the framework of the Thessaloniki PhotoBiennale 2021
Chrysalis is a portrait series recognizing and celebrating the individuality of cisgender and transgender women refugees and asylum seekers living in Greece.
Hailing from countries such as Syria, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cameroon and Ghana, the participants take the stage clad in golden costumes fashioned out of emergency blankets. The portraits and accompanying texts depict each woman’s different experience and path of migration, while the setting places her courageous expression at the heart of the image.
Since 2014, more than 1.2 million people fleeing from conflict, violence and persecution have traveled through Greece, undertaking perilous voyages in search of safety and a better life in Europe. Some 100.000 still remain in the country, with the majority languishing in squalid conditions.
Driven by the symbolism the color gold has, I repurposed the material that has become synonymous with the refugee journey and, in collaboration with designer Guram Chachanidze, turned it into a garment. Each costume is unique and reflects the women’s spirit.
“Chrysalis” refers to the final stage a larva goes through before transforming into an adult butterfly. It is the moment of a great change for this species which, still enclosed in its golden cocoon, is preparing to unfold its wings for the very first time.
Olga Stefatou (GR)
Olga Stefatou is a visual artist and photography consultant. She recently moved back to her native country Greece after working with Qatar Museums as Senior Photography Specialist for two years. Stefatou works on long-term photo-based projects seeking to investigate the idea of freedom and its connection to geopolitics, heritage, and social structures, with a special interest in gender issues. She has exhibited her work at Aga Khan Museum (CA), Doha Fire Station art space (QA), Los Angeles Month of Photography, Head On (AU), Les Boutographies (FR), and Gallery Negpos (FR) among others. Stefatou collaborates with international media such as Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, The Economist, NBC News, and Vanity Fair. In 2015 she participated in the pioneering Solar Impulse mission – the round of the world with a solar-powered aircraft. She is the curator of the arts program at Saristra Festival Arts, a festival celebrating music and arts on Cephalonia Island, Greece. She studied photography at the Technological Educational Institute of Athens and in 2012 she earned her Master’s degree in Multimedia Journalism from the University of Bolton, UK, while being based in Beijing, China.
More info at photobiennale-greece.gr