Borders / Crossroads @ Medphoto festival

The first Medphoto festival will take place in Rethymno, Crete during the summer months from June until September. It will host a number of exhibitions and events, that present important works of Greek and foreign photographers.

Medphoto Festival is a new initiative in the area of photography in Greece. It is the vision of photographer Pavlos Fysakis and the NGO KOLEKTIV8, in association with the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete.

Medphoto’s target is to bring the audience closer to the art of documentary, by presenting works of photography and video (lens-based arts). Medphoto is organised by a team that consists of photographers and editors, in collaboration with cultural institutions from all over the world, and it is opening up to the international cultural community.

Crete, the centre of the Mediterranean Sea, is nothing but a gateway that brings together three continents (Europe, Africa and Asia), highlighting the importance of the geographical and cultural boarders, that are the main theme of the festival for this inaugural year. As attested by the title: «Βorders / Crossroads», this year’s Medphoto is focusing on the subject of immigration crisis.
The festival puts in discussion the desperate search for a home, the struggle of the immigrants for social integration during these troubled times, the humanitarian crisis and the social unrest in the area of the Mediterranean, as well as the role Europe plays, pointing out the main pathologies of this time and place: the financial and political dead-end, the war and poverty in the Middle East and Africa, the rising racism, the social conflicts and the ever-present intolerance.

Photo Festival Crete
Antoine d''Agata
In the core of the Festival are four basic exhibitions, picturing a whole network of correlations and routes through which the complicated matter of the moving populations and the crisis is described:

“Crossings”, a group exhibition at the Old Commercial Bank’s building (Old Town)

Curators: Giorgos Moutafis, Pavlos Fysakis

Duration: 9 June – 15 July

Artists: Socrates Baltagiannis, Loulou D’Aki, Alfredo D’Amato, Dimitris Michalakis, Giorgos Moutafis, Myrto Papadopoulou, Alessandro Penso, Giulio Piscitelli, Jerome Sessini, Angelos Tzortzinis, Emilien Urbano, Achilleas Zavallis

The exhibition presents the routes of refugees towards and across Europe. It is hosted in the old Commercial Bank’s building, an aspect that marks the relationship between the recession and the displacement of populations.

The photographs come from the shores of Lesbos, the port of Piraeus, the crossings of immigrants to Africa, the torn-apart Syria, the Calais Jungle, the settlements in Patra and Idomeni, the smugglers’ hotels in Smyrna.

Alessandro Penso

Exhibition “Critical Archives II: Testimonies”, Kara Moussa Pasha Mosque

Curators : Maria Maragkou, Pavlos Fysakis

Duration: 9 June – 20 July

Artists: Apostolos Zerdevas («State»), Giorgos Moutafis («My Arab World»), Issa Touma («Nine Days»)

This is a video series, documenting important international affairs, like the war in Syria, the Arab Spring and the action of a terrorist group in Middle East.

The artists have created a collage of experiences: Giorgos Moutafis in “My Arab World” works as an eye-witness, recording scenes that take place right in front of the press-photographer. Issa Touma, in his video “Nine Days” communicates the image as well as the experience of a person-potential victim: he sees -and at the same time records- trapped inside his own house, the happenings of a war that takes place right outside of his own window,. Finally, Apostolos Zerdevas in “State”, uses the video recordings of extremists and isolates snapshots with his own camera, trying to critically reflect on the news and the Media.

Group Exhibition: “Alien Territory”, Twin Building inside the Fortezza Castle in Rethymno

Curators: Yorgos Prinos, Pavlos Fysakis

Duration : 10 June – 15 July

Artists: George Awde, Antonis Damolis, Konstantinos Doumpenidis, Petros Efstathiadis, Giorgos Gavrilakis, Olga Gortsa, Yorgos Karailias, Yannis Karpouzis, Marily Konstantinopoulou, Charalambos Kydonakis, Randa Mirza, Marita Pappa, Georges Salameh, Orestis Seferoglou, Kosmas Stathopoulos, Eliza Tamo, Serkan Taycan, Antonis Theodoridis, Marinos Tsagarakis, Nikolas Ventourakis

Working on a more symbolic subject, this exhibition (inside the town castle) is the effort to research our internal state, the state of everyone living from the inside of the border, regardless of their descent, trying to find meaning in an uncertain era, an era of insecurity, crisis and increasing inequality. Alien Territory is the uncharted area of our familiar environment, where our own self is the stranger.

Exhibition: “Critical Archives I: Ruins” at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Crete

Curators: Maria Maragkou, Pasqua Vorgia, Pavlos Fysakis

Duration: 11 June – 30 September


  • Antoine D’Agata (Odysseia)
  • Adam Broomberg & Oliver Chanarin (Everything that happened, happened here first, in rehearsal)
  • Davide Monteleone / Francesco Zizola (Abbandoni)
  • Hrair Sarkissian (Homesick)
  • Nikos Markou (Life Narratives -Video)
  • Emilien Urbano (Kurdish fighters in the city of Nusaybin)
  • Depression Era (Zoe Hatziyannaki, Kostas Kapsianis, Dimitris Michalakis, Dimitris Rapakousis, Spyros Staveris, Yiannis Theodoropoulos, Lukas Vasilikos, Pasqua Vorgia)
  • 18 ANO Photographic Team (The Zone)

For the first time in the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, there is a discussion between four international photographers. Antoine D’Agata presents a very special sequence of images, concerning the daily life of the refugees. In the work by Francesco Zizola, we see a monumental photograph from the tragic shipwreck of Lampedusa, while Davide Monteleone is photographing the personal belongings of the passengers of the ship that have been washed to the shore. Hrair Sarkissian reveals, through his photographs, the feeling of dedication to home, even when danger and distraction lay in wait.

Nikos Markou, in a sequence of short videos, invites the audience to have a brief but penetrating look in the life of various people of the contemporary Greek reality and finally Emilien Urbano completes this puzzle with his photographs of Kurdish fighters in the city of Nusaybin.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete
Nikos Markou
Works from the archives of the artists collective Depression Era, will be presented in an attempt to record the speedy socio-political transformations in Greece the recent years.

The Museum hosts the screening of «The Zone», by the Photographic Team of the 18 ΑΝΟ rehabilitation centre.

The fourth exhibition will take place in the city streets, and will start on the 10th of June. It is an open photographic exhibition but Aglae Bory and Julien Lombardi, posted on the walls of central sights in the Old Town of Rethymno, curated by Marion Hislen (Festival Circulations).

Other activities, workshops, award

Along with the main exhibitions, during Medphoto Festival several activities and events will take place through the summer.

Among them a 3-day photographic masterclass with internationally acclaimed artist Oliver Chanarin (6 to 8 June).
A lecture by Antoine D’Agata in the Cultural Centre of Rethymno (Old Town, 30 June).

Portfolio reviews and exhibition of the work of the festival’s volunteers along with photographers Efi Chaliori in Iliaki Gallery (Old Town).

Photographic screenings (STEREOSIS artistic team in Thessaloniki and FOCUS school of photography and video) followed by open discussion between the public and the artists in the Cultural Centre of Rethymno (10 June)

Last but not least, for the first time in Greece, Medphoto Festival will award the Medphoto Award, offering a 5000 euro grant to one outstanding photographic documentary project.

The jury consists of:

  • Heracles Papaioannou, Director of Thessaloniki Museum of Photography
  • Aliki Tsirgialou, Director of the Photographic Archive of Benaki Museum
  • Riza Erdegirmenci, Director of the International Photography Festival Fotoistanbul
  • Laura Serani, Curator
  • Nikandri Koukoulioti, Advertising Director, Magnum Photos
  • Davide Monteleone, Photographer, tree times winner of the Word Press Photo award
  • Giorgos Prinos, Photographer

The planning and execution of the organization of the Festival has been supported and aided by important cultural institutions, both Greek and European such as the Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete, the Benaki Museum, the Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, the Athens School of Fine Arts, the Ragusa Festival in Sicily and Circulations Festival in Paris.

Of fundamental importance has been the support of the Grand Sponsor, MOTOR OIL.

Important and effective aid has been received from the sponsors:

The cultural institution NEON, the Municipality of Rethymnon and the Region of Crete, ANEK Lines, Lens Culture, Focus Photography School, Kailatzaki Publishers, Cretan Review, Kaloteraki Furniture Company, Daskaladonakis Hotels, as well as the hotels: Mythos Suites Hotel, Pepi’s Studios, Theartemis Palace, Hotel Ideon, Brascos Hotel, Atrium Hotel, Mythos Suites Hotel.

For more information:
Borders / Crossroads @ Medphoto festival Borders / Crossroads @ Medphoto festival Reviewed by Patricia Munster on 8:17:00 AM Rating: 5

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