A stroll in the city
Toumba is the fourth of a series of books curated by Hercules Papaioannou, curator of Thessaloniki Museum of Photography, under the title A Stroll in the City. For each book, Papaioannou invites four photographers based in Thessaloniki to photograph an area of the city, aiming to build a photographic documentary of contemporary Thessaloniki.
"Toumba, the north-easter quarter of the Municipality of Thessaloniki, reauires no formal introduction: home of a popular football team, it occupies a place in the collective consciousness and occasionally sees hordes of fans converge upon it from almost all northern Greece. It was settled in the wake of the traumatic population exchange of 22, accommodating refugees in humble dwellings, distanced from the city walls that formed both an historical and a social boundary. Gradually, it was integrated into the urban fabric and developed into a peripheral centre that is modernised whilst at the same time preserving its 'working- class' tag. The photographers in this year's Stroll wandered through Toumba's nooks and crannies in an attempt to penetrate with their lenses what is often accounted as a superficial only familiarity.
The colour photographs of Grigoris Digkas form a selection of commonplace urban locales on a variety of scales, as well as the hill with the archaeological site from which the area derives its name. The invisible thread that runs through them is the intrusive vegetation in the backyards of buildings and on pavements, the vegetation brazenly spreading across unbuilt plots and built streams. The austere, colourless volumes of buildings with the sparse patches of greenery alternate with the wreathed entrances of detached houses and riotous clumps of trees, marking the uneven, silent struggle between the natural and the cultural on the boundaries of this part of the city." -Hercules Papaioannou