Thaleia Kavvada


Untitled no.2,500

Having as a starting point the poem “Preveza”, the piece echoes the lines
“the olive grove, behind the sea, and even
the sun, death within the deaths”
2,500 stamps, on 2,500 pictures of sea, in 2,500 envelopes, for 2,500 drowned Syrian refugees during 2016.

Kostas Karyotakis (1896-1928) is considered one of the most representative Greek poets of the 20th century and one of the first to incorporate modernist themes in his work. His poetry conveys a great deal of imagery with traces of expressionism and surrealism, and reflects his existential, pessimistic and satirical tone. He killed himself in the Greek city of Preveza, shortly after writing the titular poem.
K. Karyotakis was working as a lawyer, on the control of land donations from the Greek state to refugees from Asia Minor War of 1922. His attempt to bring to light the corruption and squandering of money behind the programs providing care for refugees, had caused the rage of the then Minister of Welfare and led to his adverse posting to Preveza.
The poem displays an insistent, lilting anaphora on the word Death, which stands at the beginning of several lines and sentences. It is shot through with a pungent awareness of the gallows, in the tiny mediocrity of life as the poet felt it. Mortality is measured against insignificant, black, bashing birds, or the town policeman checking a disputed weight; it is identified with futile street names, or the brass band on Sunday, a trifling sum of cash in a bankbook, the flowers on a balcony, a teacher reading his newspaper, the prefect coming in by ferry.
The poet walks and wonders whether he exists, whether his life has any value or could count for something; questions that he answers himself with the overwhelming ascertainment that he does not exist!

  • For This piece was created as part of the project “Being Human”.

  • Date 2017

  • Type Mixed Media Installation

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Untitled no.28