Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) and the National Museum of Contemporary Art Athens (EMΣΤ) are pleased to present the major outdoor installation Return to Sender by the Nairobi based collective NEST, curated by Katerina Gregos. The installation will be on display at SNFCC’s Esplanade from April 26th to September 30th, 2023, with free admission for the public.
Return to Sender, a major outdoor installation by the Nairobi-based multi-disciplinary artistic collective NEST, consists of a custom-built pavilion made of bales of used clothing - called mitumba in Swahili - the majority of which ends up in landfills in Africa. The work alludes to a dystopian waste landscape and highlights a major environmental problem. The installation made of old clothes echoes the true breadth of the uncontrolled consumption in the Global North, and the stringent regulations that overtly force the movement of these materials to the Global South, to become the business and headache of less industrialized nations to deal with, as both waste and non-waste. An inordinate amount of textile waste comes to Africa—up to 40 percent of each bale of imported second-hand clothes is completely unusable and thus taken straight to landfills—also forcing the folk who trade in them to incur high overheads on the risk of a useless bale. The installation in Athens is made of textiles and clothes collected from Greece and intended for recycling or reuse in industry, where they will end up after the exhibition