«ΜEΡΕΣ ΕΓΚΛΕΙΣΜΟY/ LOCKDOWN DAYS»
Lockdown days, internal, bizarre; COVID-19, restrictive measures. Confined at home since the 24th of March. The need to record the new reality, the thoughts, the emotions, all this made me take to the streets holding a camera.
Friday, 27 March 2020. The first outing. I’m breathing. I grab my camera and lenses, along with the ‘certificate of movement’. My stomach is tight. On the waterfront, the traffic is non-existent. I stop outside the quarantine hotel, with a soldier on guard duty. The parking lot is empty. On the pier, a winter swimmer. On land, three gloomy people, lost in uncertainty. Further down, the pigeons, unaware of any restrictions, are waiting for the passers-by, while the ships are whispering to the couple who dared venture on their boards out in the sea, without the ‘Confirmation for the movement of citizens by way of exception’ that registers their ID number, address and time of outing.
Behind the play of shadows, a police officer points out to me that “this is forbidden land”. The yellow police ribbons cordon off every nook and cranny restricting us. Nothing around except two cats that are enjoying their conversation in the quiet of the morning. The heart, lost in the freedom of creation, is trying to find a voice, an image. At noon, I recount my journey, I show Yiangos and Alexandros the first photographs. The following routes of expression emerge. The new reality.
April is coming soon! The month when lemon trees blossom; the month with the Good Friday processions, the Resurrection. What will the world look like after the coronavirus? At the moment, I am walking in the old port area, in the Marina, in the neighbourhood of the Castle looking for my shadow. I’m trying to capture the silence. How can I say so much with just one click? The book’s cover cat emerges from one of the ancient jars of the Medieval Museum. It gives me an ironic look and I can’t help thinking that the people are confined to their homes and the cats are prowling about.
New routes, police are everywhere monitoring and controlling. At the city’s central roundabout, I am squaring the circle. I am looking for walkers in empty streets, cyclists, athletes in house rooms, entrances to closed hotels, customers waiting in queues. We adapt our lives to other habits, and Cavafy’s lines “One monotonous day is followed by another monotonous, identical day”, which keep echoing in my mind, take me back on the memory lane, connect me with my first exhibitions.
From the 27th of March to the 4th of May, I roam around Limassol holding a camera. Days of strict self-isolation, surveillance, loneliness, inner journeys, walks in the neighbourhoods, hand disinfection and more. I feel the atmosphere of the city, the reference points, the shadows, the sounds. Everything looks different without people; without the habits of everyday life. All that resulted in this black-and-white photographic document guided by the memory of the domestic journey during the days of confinement.
And when the time for easing the restrictions came, the streets found their cars, the pavements their pedestrians, the sea its swimmers, the parks their children, and life its daily routine, scarred both by all that happened and a bright smile.