Saints: a project by Panos Kefalos

Panos Kefalos started his project “saints” in the fall of 2012, when his involvement in a unrelated work brought him to Victoria Square, the first of the neighbourhoods of Athens that he documented for ”saints”.

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In this early stages his goal was to capture the everyday life of the children that worked and played on the square. As they became close and spent more and more time together, Panos came to know their parents, their family and friends, and he was welcomed into their homes, adding a new crucial element for a deeper and more comprehensive exploration of their world. This new dimension of the work took him to the refugee building complex in Leoforos Alexandras, where most of them lived. Thanks to the trust they so generously showed him, Panos was able to witness closely many of the different sides of their hard life. Their life was really harsh, they faced a dangerous and taxing journey before reaching Greece, a journey during which they’ve usually lost all their possessions. Some of the kids had to work, selling sunflower seeds and bread in the streets: despite all that, many tried to find time to attend school. Most people had to go to the soup kitchen for food. They lived in old buildings downtown, buildings they rented in groups of many families. More rarely, some NGO was able to provide housing for them. Other families had to live on the street for a long time, or if they were luckier they’d become squatters or find a spot in a refugee camp.

When their acquaintance grew into a sincere and beautiful friendship, and their mutual trust grew with it, Panos was admitted to more intimate aspects of their private life, such as their relationship with religion, and he was invited to witness their religious observances and practices and their places of worship.

The last stage of the project took him to the Pedion tou Areos Park, where the homeless refugees were provided a provisional housing under very difficult conditions, during the refugee crisis of August 2015. Getting to know those people was the spark that caused old memories, images, fears to come back to life. This whole project is also a personal journey.

About the author:
Panos Kefalos was born in Athens in 1990. He has studied cinematography at the Hellenic Cinema and Television School Stavrakos and photography at I.E.K. AKMI.  As a photographer he presented his first personal exhibition, “Entropia”, in 2011. He has afterwards taken part in group exhibitions and he was selected in 2013 to be presented at the Athens Photo Festival in the Young Greek Photographers section. In 2014 he was shortlisted for the Leica Oskar Barnack Award. In November of 2012 he started his project “Saints” and it was completed in the end of 2015. In 2016, he published his first book, “Saints,” supported by Fabrica. Saints got selected by Jurors’ picks for the LensCulture Street Photography Awards 2016.

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