The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) is an annual initiative that aims to highlight the diverse cultural wealth of European cities, and in this way help its citizens better identify with each other. This year, Elefsina—along with Veszprém (Hungary) and Timisoara (Romania)—holds the title and presents a rich cultural agenda over the course of a year.
The programme’s name, The Mysteries of Transition, was inspired by the Eleusinian Mysteries. These were secret religious practices held in Elefsina during antiquity to honour the goddess Demetra. Makes sense that each event on the programme was therefore dubbed a Mystery. The festival’s cultural agenda is built around three thematic axes: Environment, Labour, and People and Society, and includes 130 artworks, 465 events (Mysteries) in 30 different city sites, and 17 different types of art by 192 Greek and 137 international artists from 30 countries.
The artistic director of the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Katerina Gregos, is the curator of the international group exhibition Elefsina Mon Amour, which is driven by two distinct sources of inspiration. The title, a play on Alain Resnais' famous 1959 film Hiroshima Mon Amour, attempts a connection between Elefsina’s post-industrial society in transition and the film's post-war reality. The concept of the exhibition is based on Rebecca Solnit's book Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics (2008), in which she investigates politics through different territories and places. Following this theme, the participating artists will delve into Elefsina's past and present in an attempt to uncover the area’s traumas and future.
Click here for a selection of some of Eleusis 2023’s events that will be taking part throughout the year.