The young people’s tour of Hania

My Hania

We first met in the synagogue. From here we were taken for a walk by participants in small groups to see their personal landmarks. Another day we went together for guided tour to sleuth/spoor the layers of history and various cultural influences in the architecture of the town. In the days following, we spent working on personalising our experiences from the trip; everybody picked specific elements that interested them the most (these were from the temples of various religions, to the most incredible graffiti on the walls or their favourite restaurants). Each of the elements were related to specific issues – some historical, others very current – that were at some point important for the youths we worked with. They chose the artistic tools they would like to work with to express their ideas in a tangible form. From this point, there was be intense team work to set up an exhibition.

As the plan was very ambitious for five days, they had to cooperate and help each other while multi-tasking. For instance, Claudia (working on houses installation) made recordings of people living in the area she focused on, but constructing and painting houses was a challenge involving many more hands to help. Similarly, with Niki who recorded songs of Hania (searching for future Helena Paparizu), where Georgos helped to put it in exhibition form, constructing a box of lips to house the mp3 player and headphones. The “trash lantern” photography (a image of the famous harbour lighthouse constructed from a montage of hundreds of images of rubbish on the local streets) demanded cooperation between Antonis and Gerogos, alongside a trash sculpture. I have to confess, it would be hard to put the entire exhibition together in such a short frame of time without the help of the teachers from Kandanos. They turned out to have many talents.

Many participants took part in several actions, involving different medias. That’s how the exhibition evolved – with a movie involving dances, a gallery of postcards, maps of Hania illustrating personal visiting proposals, a pasteboard model of the old town guarded from the dragon, a paper monument of a ancient Muslim shrine, Ivan imprisoned in a tree sculpture, a book of places of worship and water rituals, a food installation, alongside posters and graffiti (with proponents of graffiti and opponents in discussion and debate). Their common achievements were shown at Politechnio gallery where both of groups from Kandanos and Nea Hora proudly shown the fruits of their work to an audience of over 450 over three days. The work was also featured on Cretan television (Kydon TV), with a short film by Padelis Spyridakis and the organisers appeared on his afternoon chat show Kalos Orisate (Welcome).
Paulina Paga

Participant commentary
I was so excited when I was invited for the project  “My Hania”. The project aimed to create an awareness in young peoples’ minds, about the diversity of Cretan culture. During the project I saw that the young students had rediscovered their Hania and expressed their feelings through an exhibition of visual, audio and electronic devices. It was surprising for them to realise that once, they had shared the Cretan land with other cultures and their people. This had opened a new perspective in their minds I guess.

As everybody in or out of the project, I had my own Hania in my mind. As I had described in my novel Kritimou, Hania to me was the “beauty” of Crete. I do not remember how many times I have been to Hania, but this was the one of the most exciting visits since the young people were there to ask me questions about Kritimou. While replying, I saw that “My Hania” was successful enough to help the young people think about their own ‘identities’, their common cultures and diversity.
Saba Altinsay, writer, Turkey

The Young People’s Tour – Below you will find a sample from the work produced… a personal guide to Hania, with photographs, film, audio files and some short notes by way of explanation. Enjoy!