Coming From Compost/ Deep Love Village Tours’ with artist Korallia Stergides at Xarkis Festival, 2019. Photo: Emma Louise Charalambous © Xarkis Festival 2019.


Founded in 2013, Xarkis explores, celebrates, and experiments with aspects of local cultures, in ways that can have a positive social impact. Working with communities, our projects involve people from diverse educational, disciplinary, professional, generational, and ethnic backgrounds. We are a nomadic organization travelling across communities in rural and urban contexts. We deliver site-specific projects that are inspired by the experience of everyday life in specific localities, employing socially engaged practices in each instance.

Xarkis was first conceptualized as a social experiment, during the course of a Masters project as part of the Communication Design program at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London (2012-2014). It was originally intended as a designed assembly organized in a rural community of Cyprus (Arsos village, 2013), and was tested as a means to build a communal identity, community cohesion, and cultural resilience through creative practices. In essence, this was a creative reaction against the economic crisis that was taking its toll in different parts of the world, including Cyprus. Taking the form of a Festival, we used DIY cultural practices and brought together a range of stakeholders into one big self-organized celebration. The Festival evolved into a transnational exchange, with cultural actors, including residency coordinators, visual artists, musicians, designers, performers, and educators coming from all over the world to engage with the local communities and participate in its realization.

Having started with limited assets and with an interest in working with existing opportunities, our mission became the use of local, found resources, skills, desires, and the needs of people in each given village and region. This was achieved through a matchmaking mechanism, which nurtured collaborations between creative practitioners, educators, and ordinary residents in cities and rural communities. 

We organize, curate, and manage interdisciplinary art festivals, multi-artists’ residencies, exhibitions, workshops, talks, lectures, communication design initiatives such as communication strategies, campaigns, films, print publications, and oral history initiatives to foster inter-communal dialogue and activate public engagement on different topics.


Coming From Compost/ Deep Love Village Tours’ with artist Korallia Stergides at Xarkis Festival, 2019. Photo: Emma Louise Charalambous © Xarkis Festival 2019.

This performance took place in Xarkis Festival 2019. Deep Love is an amalgamation of all the love and properties in the world that are being extracted, deteriorating, saturated, and amplified from the planet. An attempt to embody ecological research through personification and use it as a tool to create awareness of the Anthropocene and accessibility into post-humanist scientific research and theories through abstract and poetic regurgitation of myth and environmental knowledge.

KaFEMio in Xarkis Festival 2019. Photo: Emma Louise Charalambous © Xarkis Festival 2019.

KaFEMio is a temporary coffee shop open to all women. KaFEMio started from the conceptual idea that women don’t have enough spaces to relax. Especially in rural communities, patriarchal structures still exist and although there are many coffeeshops, they are mostly male only and it is often a taboo for women to attend. The idea to create a space for women, run by women, came from the need to celebrate them and to nurture their well-being. This activity depicted in the photograph brought together over 70 women in the first meeting alone.

MASA potluck in The Tzivertin of Deryneia Festival, 2019. Photo: Christina Skarpari © Xarkis NGO 2019.

The potluck was part of the 4th Folklore Festival The Tzivertin of Deryneia on the theme of carob. As Annita Lili says: “It was the black gold for all of us.” Food, in many ways, brings us together. On Friday, 7th of June at 14:00, we were each called to bring a home-cooked main dish / side dish / dessert from our original or adoptive culture that contains among other ingredients, CAROB. This was a multi-host gathering where the centerpiece was a feast within which we were called to contribute in. The purpose was to celebrate the diversity in culture through the language of food and to bring people together to connect with each other through a food eating ritual. We had the opportunity to share aspects of our community’s / own heritage, to gain a better sense of the diversity and extended to the communities around us.

Contributor: Christina Skarpari, founder of Xarkis NGO and Xarkis Festival, responsible for the creative direction of its actions.