Every December, one of the most active foundations in Cyprus supporting persons with special needs, present their annual Christmas celebrations. The foundation provides daycare school, hospitality for persons who have the ability to a certain extent to take care of themselves, as well as job opportunities in collaboration with corporations (eg supermarkets, small factories).
All of the foundation’s students participate in the celebrations. My cousin is one of the students and usually by the time of the first rehearsals I start receiving phone calls. Are you coming to the celebrations? I will sing and dance. Are you coming? Tell your parents to come! Do not forget!! I get these phone calls almost every day, maybe two or three times a day. And I am sure this applies for all of the foundation’s students. Suddenly this is the most important thing happening in their lives. They set aside everything else that bothers them, or makes them sad and they just live for this moment. And that is what happens with the audience during the celebrations. For a minute I set aside what they go through in their everyday lives. Because apart from of the obvious misfortune of being born with a mental handicap, they also go through the loss of their loved ones, they suffer from cancer themselves, some of them have to live without the support of their families because they have been abandoned. But during the festivities all these are eliminated from my memory as they are eliminated from theirs. Their eagerness to perform to the best of their abilities and their excitement that people came to watch them perform overrides any other negative aspect in their lives. They are so happy when people applaud them and so satisfied when they finish performing, congratulating each other that they have pulled this off.
And this is ongoing. A few days later another event is one the way. My brother is having a dinner party. Are you coming? I will make barbeque. Are you coming? Tell your parents to come! Do not forget!! It is all this excitement that at some stage I wish to research more and if possible create a series of works. Some of the students are employed by a factory producing kitchen sponge clothes and what they do is to separate the finished products based on colour and shape. The idea is to document this process, and may be end up with works where the sponge clothes will be used as the primary medium.