The Aegean Passage

Take a virtual walk down The Aegean Passage

Over the course of four weeks in May and June 2018, I was artist-in-residence on a four-acre property on the island of Lesvos, Greece. The land is full of olive trees, grapevines, and fruit orchards and overlooks the Aegean Sea. With its nearest point just 3.4 miles away, Turkey is easily visible across the water. I went with the intention of creating another art trail, this time on Lesvos.

Proximity to Turkey figures prominently in the island’s recent life. Since at least 2015 refugees have been landing on Lesvos as a first hopeful step en route to a new life in Europe.

 

The current circumstance is visible daily, from the people on foot, to the giant, overcrowded camps along the roads, to the life jackets and abandoned boats on the beaches. Though it may be news to us, Lesvos has always been a destination for migrants, sitting as it does at the crossroads of Europe, Asia, and Africa.

 

That history is baked into the land and as a result emerged in my project The Aegean Passage. The artworks along the path, in sections both groomed and wild, provide a meditation on the island’s long and rich history within the context of its current geopolitical position.

Click on an image to see it full size and with annotation.

Special thanks to the humanitarian groups that helped make this project possible:

REAL International

Dirty Girls of Lesvos Island

Both groups are worthy of your time and money.

It was extraordinary to have an artistic blank slate, what felt like a lot of time, and the freedom to do whatever I wanted. And, coming on the heels of this spring’s Wheel Sea Trail, I had momentum.

 

Figuring out what to do and how happened quickly and organically. A first day’s find on a nearby beach – an impossibly tangled fishing apparatus – set a direction. Other finds unearthed on the property and scavenged from the always-full dumpsters along the roads provided the rest. Toiling with the sound of hens cackling, roosters crowing, sheep bells clanking, and mourning doves cooing, along with a view of the blue sea and Turkey beyond, set an inspiring tone. 

 

The Aegean Passage includes five main sculptures and a newly hardscaped viewpoint, all using found-on-the-island materials. 

©2009-2019 Michelle Echenique. All rights reserved.

  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram Social Icon
  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • LinkedIn Social Icon
This site was designed with the
.com
website builder. Create your website today.
Start Now