During the Metaxas dictatorship in Greece (1936-1940), many small Aegean islands were used as a place of exile for Greek communists. Folegandros, a small island to the south-west of Sikinos, was one of them. Marios Tranoudakis, an inhabitant of the island in his 80’s, narrates stories from exiles he met in person, and describes what life used to be like for them.

Cyclades Oral History Archive, Media dell' Arte - Greece


Most small Aegean islands are often troubled by long periods of dry weather. In the past, when inhabitants’ lives were totally depended on their crops, rain was a matter of life and death.

Thodoris Arsenikos, one of the two priests of Sikinos, tells a story about how priests and parishioners on the island used to perform the Litany of the Rain in periods of drought in the olden times. People fasted and starved their animals, and poured their faith into the endeavour so that the service would work. And, he says, it did. He makes an amusing comparison with an attempt to have a Litany of the Rain in modern times and how it was a complete failure.

Cyclades Oral History Archive, Media dell' Arte - Greece


Maria was born and lives in Sikinos. She was born with a degenerative disease that by the time she was 40, had left her totally blind and deaf. Before completely losing her sight and hearing, she had learnt how to read and write, had got married and had a daughter, with whom they developed a unique way of communication. Her daughter, Katina, "writes" letters and fragments of words in her mother’s palm, and this way she can "talk" to her. Today in her 80’s, Maria tells parts of her life story, shows us how she can be useful around the house and even sings a song she hasn’t heard for more than 40 years.

Cyclades Oral History Archive, Media dell' Arte - Greece


When in 2007 Media dell’ Arte first visited the island of Sikinos and started collecting archival material, an old super-8 family film was brought to our attention, with footage from the 1960’s on the island. The old film was digitized and made into a DVD. An event was then organized, where the islands’ inhabitants were gathered in the old school building to watch the screening of this material for the first time after almost 50 years. The people were encouraged to comment on the scenes and the people shown in the film.

Thodoris Arsenikos, the village priest, is a brilliant violin player, and becomes the heart and soul of every musical celebration in Sikinos. He has been fascinated with music and the violin ever since he was, literally, a baby. In one of the scenes in the old super-8 film, he is shown as a baby in diapers, pretending to play the violin, holding two sticks. The viewing of this scene was definitely the most exciting moment of the screening.

Cyclades Oral History Archive, Media dell' Arte - Greece