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Leaden steps. Asia Minor 1922

The Piraeus Bank Group Cultural Foundation (PIOP) presents the temporary exhibition “Leaden steps. Asia Minor 1922” in the Museum of the Olive and Greek Olive Oil in Sparti, until 30 September 2023.

View of the project "Uprooting": the bogs, abandoned along the The bags, lying along the railway lines at the train stations and along the along the platform, silent witnesses of what took place, spectators of violence, of persecution, the unspeakable destruction of the Hellenism of Asia Minor. Visual artists: Ioanna - Ioanna Maria Yakoumaki, Fotini Panagiotopoulou. | © PIOP B. Georgiadis

The exhibition takes place on the occasion of the commemoration of the Asia Minor Catastrophe and is under the auspices of the Federation of Refugee Associations of Greece. The works created by artists Ioanna-Maria Giakoumaki and Foteini Panagiotopoulou, inspired by the personal stories of two Laconians, Angelis Stavropoulos (1901-1950) from Richeia and Athanasios Bagiokos (1892-1979) from Anavryti, form the core of the exhibition narrative. The two men participated in the Asia Minor Campaign, were captured, and were later repatriated, with physical and psychological traumas just as thousands other soldiers who came back and the refugees from Asia Minor.

The presentation of family heirlooms and the transcription of memory in contemporary artistic creation reconstruct moments of the Asia Minor tragedy. Many families were left only with the photographs that had been sent as souvenirs from Asia Minor before the Catastrophe. The canvas of History depicts the war and its evils, displacement, suffering, indelible memories. By matching rare audiovisual material to authentic documents of the time, a conversation is attempted between past and present. Possibly, too, the indispensable reflection, as happens on every anniversary. Today, more than a hundred years after the Asia Minor Catastrophe, we travel across distances beyond now foreign borders with “Leaden steps”, searching for slivers of memory in the painful experiences of the people who survived, the people wounded, the people lost.

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