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.
Famed American photographer Lina Bertucci seems to believe that no one can tell a story better than those who lived it. In Faces of Elefsina, the latest photography and multimedia exhibition that runs under the Eleusis 2023 programme, the cultural heritage of the city’s varied populations is presented through intimate testimonies. Portraits display native residents and individuals with ancestral ties to Asia Minor and Pontos, as well as of newcomers from Greece, Albania, Pakistan and India, telling similar stories despite their different backgrounds. Stories that touch on global issues such as labour migration, ancestral displacement, cultural memory, and the complexities of living in industrial districts. The photographs are accompanied by personal memoirs allowing visitors to follow the artist’s narrative and investigate people's drive to find their place in the world.
Click here for a selection of some of Eleusis 2023’s events that will be taking part throughout the year.