July 2022

Muhajir or Mohajir (Arabic: مهاجر ,muhājir;) is a Farsi word meaning migrant or traveler. This was the name of the refugee social project that operated in ourspace before Esto Association.The ‘Bag Mohajer’ project was run by refugees with the help of a German designer.
For 5 years they produced bags using as raw materials remnants from the plastic boats and life vests with which refugees arrived on the Island of Lesbos. Accidentally learning about the story of our space through Nassim Muradi -a young refugee from Afghanistan- we got in touch with the people who worked in the space and conducted research about the social project Mohajer. Inspired by this story, we wanted to take it with us and keep its memory in our studio.

The multimedia installation was composed of objects, graphics, recorded storytellings and the documentary about the ‘Bag Mohajer’ project directed in 2017 by Adrian Oeser.
It operates as a storytelling device carrying memories and creating a narration about the ex-use of the space and the people that used to live in the neighborhood of Exarcheia.

The main pillars of our inspiration were the decorative elements that were used on the Mohajer bags by their makers -most of them symbols of freedom and movement (birds, boats etc) - and structural elements from Victoria train station -a landmark station for a lot of refugees who arrive, stay or leave -. These symbols were incorporated on the objects that constituted the exhibition and will be used after as our furniture pieces.

Another important element is that of water as a carrier of memories and bodies, the Mediterranean sea-topology as a political playground and the microarchitecture of an Athenian neighborhood that with its rawness and romanticism, can become friendly or hostile.

The installation was carried out in collaboration with ANKAA project, a former collaborator of the ‘Bag Mohajer’ project, and the Tajikistan designer Shafi Qias. Together we created parts of the installation and they also provided us with materials from the bags.

Curated by Esto Associaiton and Lydia Markaki
Photos by Danai Panagiotidi

Bag Mohajer (Trailer) I Director: Andrial Oeser

© Esto association 2022

© 2022 Esto Associaiton