This being my first piece, it had to be simple to produce and attach and so held together by a creative concept. After a failed attempt at making stuffed dogs out of socks and recyclable materials, I headed to Jumbo – Larnaca’s warehouse of cheap wonders – and Maya* pointed out the stuffed flamingos and held a bunch of them together as if hanging them. We don’t want to be morbid, but immediately the idea of family and suffocation came to mind. We’re a small family of two, and we get on very well, so had very few squabbles during the isolation period; but I know a number of friends who didn’t have it so easy. I wondered what they might be thinking and what their children might be feeling, and so I asked.
I don’t speak Greek (yet!) but the islanders do and so any piece I make must include their language. English is my native tongue, and understood by most in Larnaca. I’m also an Arab, love my language, and known that many Arabs live on or visit the island, especially Larnaca. And so all three languages had to be included in the piece. It’s not necessary for every passer by to understand all the thoughts presented. It’s enough to understand one and have that be the start of a conversation.
And that’s what happened…. I put the piece up (using non-damaging strong double sided tape) at around sunset and sat some distance away observing the reactions of people enjoying an evening stroll. I returned the next morning an hour after sunrise to find the Flamingo family still in place, still thinking about the consequences of the lifting of isolation measures. One of the little ones however appears to have gone for a swim.
Installation date: 17 May 2020
*Maya is my inspired and inspiring daughter. Her name appears frequently in these pages, as she is not only my greatest love, but also my muse and my teacher.