Marina Tsekou

Janine Antoni, Slumber, 1994. Installation. Maple loom, wool yarn, bed, nightgown, blanket, artist’s REM reading on computer paper, REM decoder. Variable dimensions. National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMST). Donated by the Dakis Joannou Collection, 2014. Copyright EMST, Inv. No. 876/14


The following interpretations of Janine Antoni's art work come from a unique project at the National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (EMST) in 2017. Face Forward …into my home  was an interactive art project focused on the stories of people who have been forced to leave their homelands and were rebuilding their life in Greece. It included storytelling workshops inspired by a selection of contemporary artworks from the collection of EMST, the photo shooting of portraits, and a photography exhibition about and with refugees and asylum-seekers, then living in the greater Athens area. Link



Αzizi, 32 years old / Afghanistan

The artwork with the loom is about dreams, which the artist has embroidered on the blanket. I think about my two children and the dreams I hope they have when they sleep at night. More than anything else, I hope that they can sleep peacefully, go to school and move on with their lives, and not think about the problems that weigh on my mind. I also hope that in their sleep, a light blanket with cheerful colours covers them and they dream of a bright and hopeful future. We hope that one day things will change in Afghanistan and we’ll see peace and safety in the country. Until then, I’ll try and make a life for me and my family, in a quiet country far from wars and bomb attacks.


Bibiche, 33 years old / Congo

The threads in Janine Antoni’s work symbolize for me the pain and effort we need to make to achieve what we want, and the blanket the artist has woven is the help we give each other. I really appreciated what Zainab had to say to us about her dream for the future. I also have a dream like that: I hope one day to work in the European Union as my country’s ambassador and work for peace.


Μaya, 26 years old / Tunisia

I first thought Janine Antoni’s piece was about people who have to work a lot in their life and I could see myself in it, sitting at the loom and working and then afterwards relaxing on the bed. When they told us a little bit about the work and how it’s connected to dreams, I saw myself again, how I want to make my dreams come true even when things are tough, as they were for me in my country. I thought about sitting at the loom and weaving my dreams. I think the whole work is showing us our mind, our ideas and dreams. It shows us working with our dreams and in the end making them come true and enjoying them. That’s what I believe—we weave our own lives.


Zainab, 16 years old / Afghanistan

Janine Antoni’s work with the loom reminded me of Afghanistan, where they still use this device, especially in the villages. People in Afghanistan have practiced the art of the loom for ages. They weave rugs and carpets with flowers and other beautiful designs and lots of beautiful colors. As far as I know, these rugs are very expensive and most of them are sent to other countries abroad. It’s mostly women and not men who work the loom, because women know more about colors and designs and they can draw better. Besides, because of the culture, women don’t often leave the house. So, every home has a loom so that the woman of the house can have something to do that will also help her family financially.


Just like the artist talks about her dreams through her work, I have my dreams, too, my own goals. I’m trying to finish my education, whether in Greece or in another country, and when that happens, I’ll decide exactly what I want to do. Whatever it is, I want to be a woman who is of help to society and the environment and every country in the whole world. Maybe I’ll start a business after my studies. I haven’t decided yet what kind of business it’ll be, but I’m sure that’s what I’ll do. And I have a dream: to help my country, Afghanistan, where things aren’t so good now. That’s why one day I want to help and offer my country something.


Because of the situation in Afghanistan, women aren’t valued the way they should be. I hope one day my country gets to the point where it will recognize the value every woman has. I also think about the children who are on their own, who became orphans because of the war.  They are falling behind in school because they have to work on the streets collecting garbage to get by. This is something I want to help my country with, to help kids go to school and not have to wander the streets and do the kinds of jobs they’re doing. I mean, I want to build a place, a shelter, where children who don’t have a family can live in decent conditions. I want to help them go to school and finish their studies so that they don’t wind up uneducated and on the street. And so that nobody forces them to work on the streets and at the traffic lights. Of course, I know I can’t do much on my own to change the situation. But maybe if I achieve what I plan to do, I’ll be able to help improve things.