The following interpretations of Mona Hatoum'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
Patricia, 34 years old / Cameroon
What we experienced was a transition from dark to light. This is what Mona Hatoum’s work Fix It made me think. Light always symbolizes life, regeneration. When light lights up in this space with the old, rusty objects, it resembles the moment you turn back to light, you find yourself after a deeply thoughtful or difficult phase of your life when you have sunk in the dark.
Farida, 28 years old / Afghanistan
Seeing the work by Mona Hatoum, which she made from old, rusted objects, made me think that I too can fix my life. In Afghanistan, women cannot attend school, they cannot do anything. But now that I’m here I have the opportunity to go to school, to learn Greek. That’s life, one must work hard and always strive for the best.
Khalida, student / Afghanistan
One of the works that struck me was Fix it by artist Mona Hatoum, who had used different rusty metal objects for her project, breathing new life into them in the process.
Aboud, 26 years old / Syria
For me, the one work that stood out was Fix it by Mona Hatoum. It reminded me of what happened in Syria, with the war leaving behind rubble everywhere. As the artist gave new life to old neglected objects, I wish for the same to happen to the Syrian cities that have been destroyed, so that life returns to the country. For this to happen, words do not suffice, actions are needed too. We need the people who govern us to put an end to the war, so we can leave what happened behind and move forward in the direction of hard work and righteousness. And I hope what happened in Syria will not happen again in any other country.
The story of the former factory, which now hosts the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens, reminded me of the story of Aleppo. Aleppo is considered to be one of the first cities to have been inhabited, and has one of the oldest and largest castles. But in the last seven years it has become one of the most dangerous places. The city is unrecognisable because of the massive destruction it has undergone. You see pictures from today’s Aleppo and you cannot believe that there can be such a place on earth: a destroyed window here, a pot thrown there… However, some people have remained there in the hope that the city will be rebuilt, convinced that all problems are challenges which drive people to work hard and succeed.