The Roma of Chalandri
300 Greek Roma, residents of the municipality of Chalandri since 1971, are threatened with eviction and relocation since the beginning of 2014. The 70 families that live in a camp near the Athens Metro Station of Nomismatokopio, on the premises of the Athenian suburb of Chalandri, face relocation to the secluded location “Kandili” on mountain Patera, on the north west of Athens.
After the decision of the Athenian Decentralization Administration, the 67 houses of the Roma must be knocked down and the people that live there should be relocated in an abandoned old American army base, which has no water or electricity, it is 8km from an inhabited area and is used as a game reserve.
The state has attempted to knock down the Roma camp 2 times, the last being on the 30th of September 2014, when only 12 abandoned buildings of the camp were knocked down, after protest and clashes between Roma and people who came with solidarity and the demolition forces. The whole matter is still pending.
The University of Athens, which has been working on Roma education, has pointed out that an important amount of children living in the camp are placed in schools. The Committee of Human Rights of the U.N., along with the municipality and various organizations that have looked into the matter, emphasize the commitment on human rights (regarding the eviction and the place that will be chosen to relocate these people, preferably somewhere within the Chalandri premises) and the severe danger of shutting out of society the Roma, instead of taking measures of including them.
The 70 families that live in the camp wish to keep their houses and continue to live where they used to for the past 40 years.
About The Photographer
Christos Michalopoulos began his involvement with photography in 2009. At first he attended the municipality of Glyfada seminar on digital photography, with Despina Klouva. In 2010 he participated in the two-year program of analogue photography theory and practice, taught by Nikos Demolitsas and Dimitris Drakopoulos(darkroom). During the same period, he attended the seminar of POFPA (Cultural Association of University of Athens) taught by Vangelis Georgas. Since 2012 he attends the photography laboratory of the Athens School of Fine Arts taught by Dr. Manolis Babousis (until 2013), Alexandros Voutsas and Dr Panos Kokinias.
At times, he has attended various workshops, on digital processing (at E.F.E. with Harry Pasiroglou) and on photojournalism (with Maro Kouri).
He has participated in group exhibitions at Gounaropoulos Museum (2012), the Vault Theater (2013) and in the Booze Cooperativa Base Gallery(2014).
Since 2011 is a member of FOZ group (Photography Group of Zografou).