Maritime traditions of Cycladic islands in ‘Crafts of the Sea’ exhibition

Maritime traditions of Cycladic islands in ‘Crafts of the Sea’ exhibition

The maritime exhibition “Crafts of the Sea: Cycladic Culture and History” opened last week at the Goethe Institute of Athens. The lower level of the building has been transformed into a multimedia exhibit featuring photos, maps, videos, and audio clips that showcase the maritime traditions of five Cycladic islands: Amorgos, Paros, Santorini, Syros, and Koufonisia.

Curators and creators Maurizio Borriello and Jacob Moe aim to preserve and promote the cultural heritage of these maritime communities by sharing local experiences and knowledge, and collecting historical archival material for future generations.

The Archipelago Network, primarily an online platform providing digital access to archives, also hosts exhibitions to raise awareness in a tangible way. Moe, the founder, describes the experience as transporting attendees to a new place.

“We really feel as if we’re building a network of people, of archives, of memory and material,” he told Kathimerini English Edition.

‘We really feel as if we’re building a network of people, of archives, of memory and material’

The event began with a screening of short documentaries, offering an hour-long cinematic experience that explored culture, heritage and the sea. The final film, a mini-documentary directed by Moe, tells the story of a captain from Paros and his wooden cargo boat, highlighting the history of trade between the islands and its transformation into a tourist economy. The documentary also aims to raise awareness about the destruction of wooden boats.

Two architects working in cultural heritage, sisters Nina and Zoe Georgiadou, attended Thursday’s exhibit. Nina, who works in Santorini, met Jacob and his team while documenting a shipyard on the island. Discussing the vanishing jobs and traditions in these Cycladic communities, Nina emphasized the importance of recognizing this intangible heritage. Zoe added that showing appreciation and acknowledgment is the least that can be done.

The exhibition features 251 materials, ranging from a nautical chart from Paros to boat specifications and blueprints. Archival materials, interviews and photos of locals enhance this extensive collection of Cycladic traditions over time.

“It’s a nation whose identity is very bound up with the sea historically,” Moe said.

For him the exhibition has two main goals: understanding the current history and knowledge of these populations and evaluating how these histories “can sustainably evolve and exist in the future.”

In addition to recognizing these maritime communities, traditions and invaluable knowledge, Moe highlights their importance in addressing future environmental challenges.

The exhibition continues until September 21. Entry is free, and it is closed on weekends and in August.

Irene Anastasiadis is a summer intern at Kathimerini English Edition and a master’s student at Boston University.


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