Green light – An artistic workshop
Shared Learning | Aikaterini Gegisian


On the first day, Aikaterini introduced her own work A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas which had originally been presented as part of the Armenity exhibition at the Armenian Pavilion in Venice in 2015. A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas is based on photographic albums of Soviet Armenia, Turkey and Greece dating from the 1960s to the early 1980s, collected over a period of four years. The albums sometimes acting as documentation of changing landscapes and at other times as tourist catalogues, function as nation building mechanisms: they narrate through photography an image of each nation. A Small Guide to the Invisible Seas assembles these heterogeneous images produced in diverse geographical, ideological and historical contexts into a series of collages and an artist's book that together construct a new landscape unearthing an invisible topography. 

In a similar fashion, Aikaterini invited the Green light participants to first of all share spontaneous associations and stories or mythologies from their cultural background  in a big group and later in smaller (deliberately cross-cultural) subgroups. Three groups were being built ...

Some of the participant had some problem to find these stories also because most of the participants are not used to live next to the sea, so instead of the sea they discussed other waters, like rivers... 

The accounts ranged from a Kurdish rain song, the legendary story of Thousand and one Night; the Ahwar of Southern Iraq – a refuge of biodiversity and the relict landscape of the mesopotamian cities and UNESCO World Heritage Site located in South Iraq; the River Niger Bridge Onitsha which was remembered by Joseph; the Mangla dam located on the Jhelum River in Pakistan, that Asad brought up; to the Story of Aruaran Of Udo in Nigeria which was told by Paul, etc. 



The following day a couple of the participants returned (although it was not their usual workshop day) – one participant, Paul had even embarked on a research in his free time in an internet café and printed out multiple images for his contribution of the Story of Aruaran. Divided again in subgroups they searched the internet and our memories to find appropriate visual documentations, symbols, songs, and icons that could adequately represent the various stories and associations with rivers, waters, and the Sea from diverse countries as Nigeria, Camerun, Kurdistan, and Pakistan. 

The result is a digital (put printable) kaleidoscopic assemblage of images, postcards, stories, and songs - one of them even specially written in Edo and performed by a participant: 



Hede (Edo for “river”)

Hede ne le na (River come to us)
Ouwa wo no (Happy Day)  
Hede ne le na
Ouwa wa no

Ouwa wo

Amegarolo (when the water comes)
Medi re na tzi sau (I will follow)
Von le ga ze
Medi re na tzi sou
Se de ne le na (to the end)

Aikaterini Gegisian is a greek-armenian artist.