Address by the Mayor of Thessaloniki

This year's 51st Dimitria, revealing a restless and unconventional character, will reflect contemporary artistic creation, which has come about through the successful cooperation between the agencies of the city and creators from Thessaloniki, from Greece and from other countries, aiming at both artistic depiction and criticism of social reality and, mainly, looking towards the future.

At this year's Dimitria it is with great anticipation that we await Yoko Ono's exhibition; the music of Hildur Gudnadottir – full of imagery and sentiment –, jazz pianist Romain Collin and trumpet player Arve Henriksen; the theatrical performance 'Wot? No Fish!!', based on the story of Jewish shoemaker Ab Solomons, who doodled love notes to his wife for the 55 years they were married; and a great number of participations from Greece and abroad.

In fact, playing with the words “city” and “festival”, the “Cityval” is a direct reference to the city and culture, as a single, inseparable concept. Theatre, music, spoken word, visual events, dance, performances, experiential workshops, technology and research compose the contents of this year's festival.
I believe this programme will spark discussions, questions, “journeys” and confessions. A programme that has at least 42 reasons to keep us company in our favourite autumnal habit throughout October and beyond.

I would like to give my warmest thanks to all the artists for their participation and to Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education and Sports, Elli Chrysidou, who, along with all the contributors to and partners of the festival, created a programme of events that has truly listened to the pulse of the city.

See you at the 51st Dimitria!

Yiannis Boutaris
Mayor of Thessaloniki

Address by the Deputy Mayor for Culture

We are living in age of anxiety as well as truth, of isolation, confusion and the need for soul-searching, in a troubled, threatening world, with an open and generous mind and soul. We are living in an age where the belief that "hell is here" is increasingly being held, an age where there are objective truths, an age where art is not a means of escape, of aesthetics, of expression, of communication, but a tool for research between subjective and objective reality, that expresses itself in existential and social issues, that seeks out the role of social truth, of individual and collective responsibility.
The festival is the narration of art, the site of human emotiveness that penetrates its spiritual dimension with passion and knowledge.
The festival must aim at supporting the tragic and emotional nature of human destiny through memory, history and social upheaval, proving that there is duration, communication, synergy.

The festival that dares to challenge human memory is obligated to reconcile us with our faults and virtues.

In a city, our city, that contains a colourful, diverse web of its entire modern history, a city that reflects modern weakness and inequality, a city with a powerful memory, with eccentric citizens, with remarkable stories, with imagination in the present, with expression and truth for the different, with resistance towards the conventional, in a city like our city, only a festival that dares to challenge the memory and present of its people would be appropriate.

The 51st Dimitria festival will begin with 'Imagine piece', an answer to the past, present and future, a bet by the city's artistic forces against every modern problem, with the crisis being offset by artistic discourse, the new, the fearless, the bold, the cosmopolitan, the true, with patois full of humour and irony, subversive, stigmatising the absurdity of reality.

'Dimitria' is a festival that believes, in the words of Yoko Ono, that "art was a verb, rather than a noun", a different retelling that gives rise to collaboration, the expression of people with opinions, knowledge, imagination and dreams - this festival is a cause for hope.

Elli Chryssidou
Deputy Mayor for Culture, Education and Sports