A boat stranded on the beach of Thessaloniki

A boat stranded on the beach of Thessaloniki


The explanation behind the construction that has been erected in recent days on the city’s port and attracts the attention of passers-by

A construction in the port of Thessaloniki has been attracting the attention of passers-by and walkers on the city’s waterfront for several days.

Understandably, many wondered what exactly was going on as they saw people working feverishly on and off the boat that has… come ashore for a good cause!

This is the “Ship of Tolerance” that has anchored in our city and will be unveiled next Thursday, 18/5 on the occasion of International Museum Day, with a concert by Greek and foreign musicians.

A ship with… the destination to connect different cultures, identities and people from every corner of the planet, through art.

The sails of the ship are made from the designs of students from different ethnicities and social backgrounds, but they send a message of unity, tolerance and hope.

Children become part of the crew and learn to respect and value diversity through a creative process.

The “Ship of Tolerance” which arrives in Thessaloniki, has “traveled” in the past to different parts of the planet. In Egypt, Italy (Venice, Rome), United Arab Emirates, United States (New York, Florida), Cuba, Russia and Switzerland.

Pupils aged 8 to 12 discuss the importance of diversity, in terms of culture, gender, ideology. They collaborate with artists and broaden their cultural and creative horizons.

The children’s drawings will be transformed into a giant sail that will be “hoisted” to the top of the ship.

The ship will remain in Thessaloniki until May 31.

During this period, visitors will be able to see the construction process, but above all learn about the messages it wants to convey.

Meanwhile, children from Thessaloniki, North Macedonia, Ukraine and Russia will become “one” by getting to know each other through art and cooperation.

Public and private schools, the Municipality of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki Tourism Organization, MOMus, and other local and international organizations are supporting the effort.

According to the makers, the launching of the ship is an impressive part and the culmination of the whole process. From the experience abroad, they find that it is an atmosphere of joy and celebration for the participants and of course for the children.

The first “Ship of Tolerance” was built in 2005 in Sheba, Egypt, with the aim of mobilizing children and young people to participate in an active discussion around the tolerance of diversity in their daily lives.

Kabakov recreated the work in Venice, Italy in 2005 for the Venice Biennale and in St. Moritz, Switzerland in 2009, where he received the prestigious Cartier Prize.

The Ilya & Emilia Kabakov Foundation

The foundation was founded by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov to promote art as a means of communication and cooperation between different cultures, while encouraging the development and emergence of new artists.

Ilya Iosifovich Kabakov, is a Russian-American conceptual artist, born in Dnipropetrovsk in the former Ukrainian SSR of the Soviet Union. He worked for thirty years in Moscow, from the 1950s to the end of the 1980s.

Ilya Kabakov was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union in 1933. He studied at the VA Surikov Academy of Art in Moscow and began his career as an illustrator of children’s books in the 1950s. He was part of a group of conceptual artists in Moscow who worked outside the official Soviet art system. In 1985 he had his first solo exhibition at Dina Vierny Gallery, Paris, and moved to the West two years later, taking up a six-month residency at Kunstverein Graz, Austria. In 1988, Kabakov began working with his future wife Emilia (they were to marry in 1992). Therefore, all their work is collaborative, in varying proportions depending on the project. Today, Kabakov is recognized as the most important Russian artist to emerge at the end of the 20th century. His installations are as much about conditions in post-Stalinist Russia as they are about the human condition in the world.

Emilia Kabakov (née Lekach) was born in Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union in 1945. She studied at the Irkutsk College of Music in addition to studying Spanish language and literature at Moscow University. She immigrated to Israel in 1973 and moved to New York in 1975, where she worked as a curator and art dealer. Emilia has worked alongside Ilya since 1989.

Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, Documenta IX, the 1997 Whitney Biennale, and the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, among others. In 1993, they represented Russia at the 45th Venice Biennale with their installation The Red Pavilion. The Kabakovs have also carried out numerous important public commissions throughout Europe and have received numerous honors and awards, including the Oscar Kokoschka Preis, Vienna, in 2002 and the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, Paris, in 1995.

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