Process Wall: Eirini Tiniakou


the border of the grocery store

by Eirini Tiniakou

The ancient peoples of the eastern Aegean, faced with threats, looting, and invasions, which mainly came from the sea; being the main route of transport and connection with the hinterland, reflected the pain, the destruction, the conflict they experienced in their narratives. Bits of these narratives are recorded in their ceremonies and rituals. Those rituals encompass a complex and sophisticated semantic field that from time to time and from place to place expresses a variety of events, religious influences, and existential perceptions. “Dolphin Spectrum” is unfolding in those precise elements.

Alongside her latest project “Dolphin Spectrum”, which manages concepts such as trust, fortress, destruction, and adaptation within the narrative frameworks of prehistoric mythologies and ceremonies centered on the island of Lemnos, Eirini Tiniakou explores some new perspectives on threatened ecosystems, food – politics and culture which she frames as “the border of the grocery store”.

The artist notices that her daily life is given meaning in a different way by the meals she prepares. Her enchanting visits to “Alanya’ supermarket and mixing Finnish peas with Mediterranean herbs reveal connections between culinary references, migrant dishes, and geopolitical ever-changing dynamics. This geo-taste map is often followed by ambiguous positions and constructed identities between the East, Greek-Ottoman history, Balkan influences, rural life, and European idealism.

On the other hand, she notices a rose that doesn’t seem to respond to the local ecosystem. Rosa Rugosa is a wild rose species native to East Asia where it is known for its incredible healing properties and its use in Chinese medicine to treat diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation. Yet, here in Finland it is officially banned and ought to be destroyed as of January 2022. Its outspread has substantial effects and threatens the local flora as well as the fauna which depends on it. The rose proves extremely resilient to harsh climates and salt thus it extensively grows from roadsides to coastal habitats competing with local species for light and earth nutrients.

Eirini Tiniakou (1993, Athens) is an artist based in Helsinki and is active in Greece (with a focus on Lesvos) and Vienna. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Athens School of Fine Arts (2018) and a Master of Arts from the University of Applied Arts Vienna, Department of Art and Science (2021). Her practice is grounded in field research, involving a mix of documentative, participatory, and imaginative approaches. Her work mainly deals with themes of rural life and folklore, in a quest to redefine the connection with the land and the self. She often employs photography, textiles, objects, and text. She has participated in group exhibitions such as “Meet the Universe” (Austrian Academy of Sciences, 2019) in collaboration with CERN, “Chambre d’Ami·xes” (Laurenz Space, 2021), and “Boxels – Sessions” (Biennale of Venice, 2019). Her work is represented by KAH gallery (Parallel Vienna, 2019). She was selected for the residency program of “Island Connect” (Denmark – Greece) and for the Hermitage Sykaminea (Lesvos) with which she co-curated the “HS Gathering” (Athens, 2022) supported by Goethe Institute and Onassis Air. Her work has received support from the Finnish Institute of Athens and the Austrian Federal Ministry of Art and Culture. She has been awarded by ARTWORKS (2021) and is a Fellow of the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Artist Support Program.

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