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The exhibition Expanded Conversations is the result of two parallel educational programs which the National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) organized in the framework of the exhibition Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp, in collaboration with the Focus School of Photography and the Photography Group of the Rehabilitation Center “18 Ano”.

This year, for the first time, EMST collaborated with the School of Photography Focus, providing young students the opportunity to get inspired and further develop their skills as photographers in the museum space. In their free time the students were visiting the exhibition and were photographing the exhibition space and the art works. Through this activity, they practiced on shooting techniques, developed their creativity and their personal photographic approach of the theme.

The stable collaboration, since 2009, between EMST and the Photography Group of the Rehabilitation Center “18 Ano” continued this year. This time the Photography Group was realizing its regular meetings at EMST or the members of the group were visiting the exhibition individually and were approaching the art works through their lenses. Through this action the members of the group were practicing the art of photography and became familiar with both the museum space and contemporary art.

The two parallel programs lasted about two months. During this short period of time the members of the two groups worked with enthusiasm, interest and dedication, whereas each of them according to their own temperament shaped their personal attitude, developed dialogues, deepened and enjoyed aesthetically the exhibition Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp and its artworks. The solo and group photographic projects which have been created are presented at the exhibition Expanded Conversations.

The works of the exhibition Expanded Conversations reveal the creators’ outstanding imagination, sensitivity and creativity and confirm the belief of the curators of the exhibition Urgent Conversations: Athens – Antwerp, that “works of art may constantly emanate new meanings, open questions and initiate a much desired dialogue, that basic ground for human culture”.

The exhibition Expanded Conversations is a meeting place for the creators and  a reason for communication and new conversations between them, this time triggered by their own artworks, their own as diverse as much as shared visions. Expanded Conversations wishes to be developed on another level as it invites the viewers to participate in the Conversation, to activate their imagination, to pose their own questions, possibly to change attitudes and to reconsider stereotypes.

The programme was organized as in the framework of the EMST broader social and educational orientation which wants the museum to be an attractive and inclusive space for cultivation, entertainment, expression and communication for people of different characteristics, interests, and needs. Its ambition is the Conversations to be continued even after its end.

Marina Tsekou, Giannis Vastardis, Takis Zerdevas