Motherland draws upon the folklore and cultural motifs of the Cypriot culture while reflecting upon my diasporic experiences as a first-generation Cypriot-American. The intention of this investigation is to discover and deepen my connections to my heritage and to explore how interpreting an established culture can be adapted into contemporary forms.
As an entry into exploring and honoring my Cypriot/Greek cultural heritage and identity, I am teaching myself as many traditional Greek dances as I can to see what physical and unconscious relationships my body/mind have to my generational and ancestral past. While this project is, or rather began as, an interrogation into the many facets of folklore and culture in relation to Greek traditional dance, the exploration of the topic, has become a serendipitous and subconscious journey through my childhood memories. The main image that has come forward is one of a flamingo. And I have started to explore its relationship to the Cypriot land and how its migration journey echoes my own (a cyclical one).
The project is therefore a collective palimpsest of cultural and personal embodied memory.
Learning the Hasapiko from a Greek dancer on YouTube.
Learning the Kalamatiana from a teacher in Crete from YouTube.
Dancing the Hasapiko with myself. TikTok Clone Filter.
My favorite places. The places of my parents. Here is what they saw growing up. Here is where they wandered. Here are the places of my history.
Some of my first memories of being in Cyprus are full of flamingos. I would always ask to go to the salt lakes to find them. I loved to watch them glide through the water -- if it was winter -- and play in the sand -- if it was summer. But they always looked ready to fly, if necessary.
A flamingo in constant preparation.
A flamingo prepares.
A flamingo migrates.