The Seaview Trail

Take a virtual walk down The Seaview Trail

I returned to the island of Lesvos, Greece for six weeks in summer 2019 as a Dirty Girls artist-in-residence. As with my 2018 project, The Aegean Passage, I let the environment dictate a direction.

 

The ongoing influx of refugees inspired my first installation Travelers. For The Seaview Trail I let Greek myth, history, culture and the island surroundings determine my course.

There is an abundance of Greek churches that dot the island. They can be found in village squares, along the road, on beaches, at the top of hills. Ranging from the grand and ornate to the humble and compact these sanctuaries invite the public to drop in for a moment's peace and reflection.

 

Regardless of size and location there are common elements in each: icons, a place to make an offering or light a candle, and a place to sit facing the alter. I decided to create a chapel on the beautiful property where I stay. In keeping with the form, I created icons, provided a way to make a contribution and installed seats. However, instead of venerating Christian saints and the deity, I chose to celebrate the environment and tap into Greek mythology.

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.

The Seaview Trail passes through an olive grove, with vineyards within sight. With that in mind, I created a chapel dedicated to Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and Athena, the Greek Goddess who created the olive tree. Visitors can offer olives, light a virtual olive branch candle and set a wooden piece into sand praying for peace, love and enlightenment.

A cardboard carpet welcomes walkers; the flattened boxes retain elements of their source a reminder that as an island much of what is consumed arrives via ships from the sea. The refurbished chairs, placed for perfect viewing of the sea and the icon of Athena, have as their seats and backs reclaimed life jackets making a physical, watery association.

©2009-2019 Michelle Echenique. All rights reserved.

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