May 15, 2023

The international project “The Ship of Tolerance” in Thessaloniki

The international project “The Ship of Tolerance” in Thessaloniki

Art exhibition | Donopoulos International Fine Arts | May 15 - June 22, 2023

Concert | Pier A’, Port of Thessaloniki | May 17, 2023 | 19:30-21:00

Art exhibition | MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts | May 17- June 22, 2023


A big, wooden ship is being constructed during the last weeks on Pier A’ in Thessaloniki port and now is ready to… “sail”, promoting tolerance, understanding and art amongst people via children’s artworks and voices. The project “The Ship of Tolerance” is officially and proudly presented by the Ilya and Emilia Kabakov based in New York, in a joint collaboration with MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts and Donopoulos International Fine Arts at the Port of Thessaloniki on May 17th, 2023, inviting everyone to attend.

The “Ship of Tolerance” was made possible due to the valuable help by its donors, Ilya and Emilia Kabakov Foundation, Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), Bloomberg Philanthropies, David and Susan Rockefeller, Zoi Psarra Papageorgiou and Alexandra Boitsi Papageorgiou, the partnership by the Thessaloniki Port Authority and the Thessaloniki Tourism Organisation and the support by schools and organizations, such as the Papageorgiou General Hospital, OSTEN Art, the Anatolia College, the De La Salle College, the Deutsche Schule Thessaloniki, the Arsakeio Schools in Thessaloniki, the Primary School of Nevrokopi and the 16th Primary School in Drama. The project in Thessaloniki is under the aegis of the City of Thessaloniki.


The “The Ship of Tolerance” is a globally celebrated project dedicated to educating and connecting children from different continents, cultures, and identities through the universal language of Art. The project brings in Thessaloniki an art exhibition at Donopoulos International Fine Arts (“Ilya and Emilia Kabakov: Works on Paper”, 15.05-22.06), an art exhibition at MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts (“The Eminent Direction of Thoughts”, 17.05-22.06) and a big music concert on May 17th on the stage of the ship, 19:30-21:00 at the Pier A’, at the port of Thessaloniki.  

Originally modeled after an ancient Egyptian sailing vessel, the Ship itself measures 20-meters long by 7-meters wide and was first launched in Siwa, Egypt in 2005; it was then created over a dozen times across four continents, in cities like Siwa, Venice, San Moritz, Sharjah, Havana, Moscow, New York City, Zug, Rostock, Capalbio, Rome, Chicago, and London. Now in Thessaloniki, the Ship is being constructed by a group of carpenters from Manchester, UK, led by David Harold.

Children are the protagonists in “The Ship of Tolerance” with their artworks and voices. Under the guidance of the Kabakovs and project director, Orliana Morag, schools across Greece have already leading workshops for hundreds of students, ages 5 through 18. Giving them a forum to express their hopes for unity, more than 350 children have already made paintings expressing their interpretations of tolerance, while a selection of 160 student paintings will be sewn together to create the sail for the Ship. All children participating in the project will join in the sail raising celebrating ceremony on May 17th and, for the first time, see which paintings were chosen to create the sail. Following the opening ceremonies, in the evening of May 17th, a free concert will be presented at the Port of Thessaloniki.

Concurrently, the MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts will open with an exhibition showcasing the eighteen-year history of “The Ship of Tolerance”, featuring sails painted by previous participants, videos inspired by the project, and photographs documenting the installation of the Ship in prior locations. The exhibition “The eminent direction of thoughts” will also include a special presentation of The Golden Easel, an international children’s art competition founded by the Lviv Children’s Gallery. Organized by Olga Mykhailiuk and Sergii Grichanok, The Golden Easel has been running for twenty years, encouraging young students to explore and develop their artistic skills. Drawings submitted to The Golden Easel will be arranged into an installation designed by Emilia Kabakov.


“Children understand tolerance amazingly well. They are mostly unspoiled by the prejudice often carried by the adults. If we listen to them, perhaps, we can alleviate some of the oppression we witness every day,” commented Emilia and Ilya Kabakov.

“The Ship of Tolerance will be a great artistic gesture in our turbulent times, uniting many people from different geographical and cultural backgrounds. It is a democratic, participatory, moving experiment in the public space of Thessaloniki and an inspiring initiative in the space of the MOMus-Experimental Center for the Arts” states the deputy director of the venue, Thouli Misirloglou.

“The ship is a very important symbol in Greek culture and history, and we are very proud to bring this project to Thessaloniki, a city with a long tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees. The Ship of Tolerance is a wonderful reminder to all of us, and to the younger generations in particular, to continue and honor this tradition by making the world a more accepting place,” said Alexandros Donopoulos, Gallerist and Owner of Donopoulos IFA.


The project “The Ship of Tolerance” in Thessaloniki is part of the program run by MOMus celebrating the International Museum Day 2023.



“The Ship of Tolerance”

Concert programme

Wednesday, May 17th, 2023 | 19:30-21:00

Pier A’, Port of Thessaloniki



Henryk Pachulski

Andantino affetuoso in E major from “Fantastic Folktale”

Op. 12, No. 5

Anya Garkina - piano 


Instrumental and Contemporary Dance Performance Sitna Lisa

Choreography: Elena Antonova Petrovikj

Musical arrangement: Robert Angelovski

Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Melody Mori Chupi

Traditional Vocal and Instrumental Melody Devojche, devojche

Traditional Instrumental Melody Maleshevka

Stefan Trajkovski - gajda, zurla

Mladen Dimitrievski - tapan

Matej Stojkovski - kaval

Sara Atanasovska - tambura

Anastasija Ilievska - tambura

And ballet dancers: Luka Gjorgievski, Nina Petrushevska, Sara Tasevska 


Lemko folk song "At the window/Під облачком”

Ukrainian folk song "Sleep Walks" (lullaby)

“Malanka” Music by Ivan Lenyo and V. Sherstyuk

Musical translation and arrangement: Olena Tishyna

Marharyta Liushkova - domra, percussion

Kira Liushkova - violin

Kateryna Sirenko - violin

Nataliia Mertseva - tenor domra

Arina Larinova - vocals

Maria Malakhova - guitar

Ivan Naumenko - block flute

Olena Tishyna - guitar

Tetiana Larionova - vocals 


David Popper

Polonaise de concert

Op. 14

Magdalena Drmac - cello

Riko Higuma - piano


Karen Khachaturian

The Pursuit from the ballet “Cipollino”

Musical arrangement: P. Petrof


Jacques Offenbach

Can Can


Randall Compton

C.S. Theme and Variations


Teona Budjakovska and Jane Petrovski - piano


Mikis Theodorakis

Τι θέλω (What I Want)

Όμορφη πόλη (Beautiful City)

Άρνηση (Refusal)



No Man is an Island

Musical arrangement: Kari Ala-Pöllänen


Mark and Sharee Anderson

E Malama


Traditional Zambian Song

Bonse Aba

Musical arrangement: V. Johnson


The Choir of the Church of Saints Cyril & Methodius in Thessaloniki

 Elpida Tsami - Conductor

 Dimitrios Poulios - Piano

Maria Emma Meligopoulou – Director


Music Director - Riko Higuma

Concert Production - Orliana Morag