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Xarkis Multi-Residency and Festival 2022

The 9th edition of the nomadic arts festival, featuring artists from all over the world, was successfully held between 15 and 17 July in Agros village, Cyprus.

Faithful to its nomadic tradition, Xarkis Festival 2022 moved to Agros, a mountainous village famous for its roses, water and vibrant agrotourism in the district of Limassol, Cyprus. From the beginning of July, artists, cultural actors and educators from all over the world interacted with the local community and created art work in a participatory manner. The results were shared with the public throughout the 3 days of the festival, from the 15 to 17 July.

This year’s international program included engaging workshops, live performances and concerts, film screenings, interactive games and much more, and was suitable for kids and adults of all ages. The Festival explored issues of colonialism and intersectionality but does so in a creative, participatory manner, engaging communities and listening to their very own lived experiences. 

“After the limitations imposed by the pandemic in recent editions, we looked forward to bringing once again all together artists, educators, locals and visitors in the name of community engagement, fun, participation, inclusivity and sustainability”, said Christina Skarpari, Creative Director of the Festival. 

Among the workshops for 2022, we hosted the WALL OF ALLEGORIES with Patrícia Harsány and Nelli Szabó (HU). This project explored symbolic changes in the material environment through the phenomenon of colonialism; RETURNING TO LEAVE AGAIN with Zoe Papaeracleous (CY, US) a dance workshop leading to a participatory performance, a printmaking workshop called UP-OIKEIA – with Kyriakos Theocharous (CY); AND UNITY WAS FLOWER SHAPED with Denise Lobont (RO) which discovered Agros’ unique heritage of floristry crafts revealing the impossibility of destroying the link between landscape and its local diverse inhabitants; TAZION, A COLLECTIVE AND INTERNATIONAL CREATION OF AN ARTWORK AS A CARD GAME with Delphine Trouche and Anna Mimouni (FR); MAKE A BIRD NEST workshop with BirdLife Cyprus NGO (CY); HARMONY OR ICONOCLASM? which focused on decolonial Implications of using the Greek-Cypriot dialect in electro-vocal music with Tasos Lamnisos  (x.ypno); DECOLONISING CYPRIOT ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE with Alexia Achilleos, where we worked together to build the first blocks of a decolonised Cypriot AI, which reflects the diverse reality of our island; BUILDING SOCIAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN REFUGEES AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES with Constantinos Economides; and RE-START, facilitated by Natalia Panayiotou and the Centre for Social Innovation (CY) whereby we discussed women’s reintegration into the labour market or the creation of their own business, whilst considering the socio-historical context of Cyprus.

As for performances, Xarkis featured FORMS TO PERFORM with Belinda Papavasileiou (CY) which entailed participatory walks and performances, and VISITOR – by Johanna Kotlaris (CH) in which the artist was reflecting over the role of the guest,  followed by Zoe Polycarpou’s (CY) participatory performance.

The following exhibitions were realised: AND UNITY WAS FLOWER SHAPED with Denise Lobont (RO); THE EOKA CHRONICLES with Glauco Canalis (IT), around the collective memory of British colonisation on the island through forms of resistance stemming from locals; Kyriakos Theocharous’ (CY) UP-OIKEIA; Zachary Schoenhut (US) who showcased the socio-cultural initiative MOTHER/SON: LATERAL MOVEMENTS; Lea Ebeling (DE) led the interactive mural called THE AGROS MAP OF MEMORIES AND IMAGINATION; and Eva Georgy (FR) created YDROFOREA, an installation on the topic of the water through a decolonial and queer approach to ecology.

Eleftheria Eleftheriou and Andreas Kyprianou (CY) led a GEOLOGICAL TOUR OF AGROS, and BirdLife Cyprus (CY) led a BIRD RINGING DEMONSTRATION. Dr Evi Tselika, Andreas Kyprianou, Vasiliki Anastasi from BirdLife NGO (CY) and Dr Maria HadjiMichael led a panel talk on COLONIALISM AND THE ENVIRONMENT THROUGH AN INTERSECTIONAL LENS.

The Festival weekend (15-17 July) also featured a two-day concert, with the performances of Stelios Ilchouk (CY), ROOTS, STEMS AND PETALS, where in collaboration with and by sampling the local community of Agros, traditional and modern modes of expression were intertwined into a body of musical work, followed by HARMONY OR ICONOCLASM? with x.ypno (CY), FUCKLORE with Krista Papista (CY), dj harama, KADINELIA with Thanasis Zikas on guitar, tsambouna, voice and Evi Seitanidou on guitar, lyre, voice, beatbox (GR), whose project focuses on the enrichment of traditional Greek music with blues and rock elements, FOLK-POP & PSYCHEDELIC DRUMS & BANJO DUO FROM SWITZERLAND with Cyril Cyril (CH), Belgian Bolivian artist SUSOBRINO, featuring field Recordings, percussion, electronic spice and acoustic instruments and DJ Kraaaouuu.

From the CONTESTED DESIRES Creative Europe programme, Xarkis featured the works of artists: Stelios Kallinikou (CY), including a talk and an exhibition titled WHO OWNS THE LAND? which seeks to investigate the current ecological emergency as a consequence of Colonialism, RUGAS DA HISTÓRIA FENDAS NA PAISAGEM with Anna Carreras (SP), an interactive installation creating a skin image, with wrinkles and rifts, merging our past and present; our heritage, surroundings, nature, culture and visitors’ contribution, Sara Baga’s BIRD NEST: A RITUAL FOR GRIEF RECOVERY WITHIN COMMUNITY (PT),  HERITAGE AT RISK with Márcio Carvalho (PT), focusing on collective technologies and practices of remembering, PARTICIPATING IN THE HIVE with Dimitris Chimonas (CY), consisting of practical games which attempt at discovering alternative strategies of forming collectivities, an AUDIO-VISUAL INSTALLATION with Kia Redman (BRB), FUTURE HERITAGE IN A POSTHUMAN WORLD with Mónica Rikić (ESP), exploring techno-diversity and addressing the urgent need for the decolonization of technology.

There were also 7 film and documentary screenings: FIN (The End) by Lara Sousa, Mozambique – Cuba, Mozambique, LAATASH by Elena Molina, (SP, Algerie), A LINE WAS DRAWN by Mairéad McClean (UK), ISHTAR by Mia Georgis (UK), ROOTS by Hussina Raja (Kashmir, UK), BIOGRAPHIES OF OBJECTS by Natalia Skobeeva (RU).

Finally, BirdLife Cyprus screened and discussed their documentary on ELEONORA’S FALCON – LIFE IN THE BALANCE.

A food and bar service was available at the Festival in Agros. Accommodation options include camping at St. Loucas park, as well as rooms and apartments in the nearby area that were booked online and in person. Agros is accessible by car or through public transportation offered island-wide.

Full program available on the Festival’s web page: festival.xarkis.org