Let's give a warm welcome to our third Visiting Artist of 2022, Christina Tsantekidou. Christina Tsantekidou is a visual artist based in Berlin, Germany. Her practice employs a wide range of materials to address complex histories of cultural identity and universal themes of human nature. Focusing on social, political, and psychological subject matter, she explores the nature of our existence, where reflections on circumstances of the past bring an awareness of the present.
In early 2020, Erie Arts & Culture launched a visiting artist residency program in collaboration with Long Road Projects. Through this program, Erie Arts & Culture and Long Road Projects provide contemporary artists with dedicated time and space to reflect, research, and create new bodies of work – outside of their usual environments. This program also creates opportunities for new perspectives and creative processes to be shared, which in turn positively impacts the cultural and creative landscape in Northwestern Pennsylvania.
This visiting artist residency program is made possible through the generous support of a privately funded grant from The Erie Community Foundation.
Christina was born in Siberia, during the waning days of the Soviet Union. Christina's installations, sculptures, and films explore the understanding of human nature through the notions of movement, politics, history, and identity. Periods of tumultuous familial transition influence the conceptual foundation of these works, and Christina's personal history shapes the way she approaches her work.
"At this time, the communist government was still in power, but the end was approaching rapidly," explains Christina. "Access to the basic needs ofeveryday life was practically nonexistent. Among other reasons, major health concerns in the family forced us to move to a warmer climate, with the only option being that of my father’s homeland- Greece. Conditions were initially worse than in Siberia- but there was a promise on the horizon, and at least we had access to medicine and healthy food. I lived in Greece till the age of nineteen, and a little before the economic crisis started in Greece I moved to Germany hoping for better access to education and job opportunities."
In her practice, Christina is inspired by the stories of people who have experienced immigration personally or know stories from their ancestors. During her stay in Erie, she would like to invite community members to exchange their thoughts about this topic. The conversation will center on where we come from and how our stories connect us. "My aspiration in this project is to create a body of work where our stories will be used as a "stepping stone" into a closer look at solidarity among all nations," says Christina. "Your stories will be used mindfully and only with your permission. I truly hope that you will accept my invitation and allow me to introduce myself personally."
Erie Arts & Culture and Christina invite the community to participate in interviews to share your culture and migration stories. The conversation will center on where we come from and how our stories connect us.
To request time with Christina, please use the form below. We will do our best to schedule an interview, working with the time constraints of Christina's residency.
And, please feel free to join Christina for an Artist Presentation and Group Critique at at 1020 Collective on April 19 at 5:30.
(1020 Holland Street, Erie PA)
Christina Tsantekidou is a visual artist based in Berlin, Germany. Her practice employs a wide range of materials to address complex histories of cultural identity and universal themes of human nature. Focusing on social, political, and psychological subject matter, she explores the nature of our existence, where reflections on circumstances of the past bring an awareness of the present. In many works, she explores historical narratives of which little may be known or where facts are opaque, misconstrued, or disputed. As these stories can frequently be lost to time, Tsantekidou gives voice to the often-unheard protagonists, and sheds light on accepted truths and denied positions present in these particular conditions. Whether autobiographical, collected from firsthand accounts, or originating through research, Tsantekidou’s works find continuity between these diverse themes and subjects, allowing for the consideration of our complex, intertwined histories. Her most recent body of work and research focuses on the Greek Genocide. As a consequence of political and social upheaval in Anatolia (Asia Minor) during and after World War I, the indigenous Pontic Greeks were systematically and methodically forced from their homeland by the Ottoman Turk government, dispersed to other countries both near and far. As many attempted to “return” to what we now know as modern Greece, the situation became highly volatile for many reasons. As is common both then as well as today, an influx of individuals to a particular place can also bring unwarranted fear, prejudice, and discrimination. These works have been shown in exhibitions such as Common Ground (Berlin, Germany, 2019), Thresholds of Life (Nicosia, Cyrpus, 2019), and Perpetual Lines (Lahti, Finland, 2018). Christina Tsantekidou was born in 1987 in Sverdlovsk (now Yekaterinburg), Russia, and grew up in Thessaloniki, Greece. She lives and works in Berlin.