Malacca City, (also spelled Melaka) is a city in Malaysia where my sister fell very ill. Most Greeks will think that this title is a joke. They will make fun of it. They will think that it’s made on purpose to provoke. And it will be rightfully so. I would probably do the same. But it’s quite the contrary.
My sister is a stand-up comedian, sharing her time between London and Athens, Greece. On April 21st 2017, while she was in Malacca, Malaysia for comedy tour, she fell very ill. She was diagnosed with bowel perforation. This caused septicemia, which eventually led her in an induced coma for two weeks. When she woke up, her body was very weak, partly caused by a major muscle atrophy. After an unbelievable series of events she wasn’t able to move, speak or see at all. After a month and half in the ER in Malacca, it was decided that it was time to bring her back home. However, this was not so easy. Most airlines refused to take her onboard as it seemed too risky for a passenger on a long-haul flight in her medical condition. In the end, an air ambulance was employed to bring her back. The flight was 18hours long including five stops. Upon return, she was admitted to a hospital in Athens, where she stayed in the ER for two weeks and an additional two months in a hospital room. Since August of 2017 she has been recovering back at our family home.
This exhibition is about the surreal ordeal that unraveled while we were in Malaysia and during the flight back home. Naturally, being Greek, it’s impossible to ignore the fact that the city that my sister almost died in has this name. Malacca, or Melaka is pronounced exactly as the word “malaka” in Greece. Malaka, means asshole or wanker or jerk off. But it’s used so often and in so many ways that it' s actual meaning sometimes is not even insulting. Best friends call themselves this way as they could also be referred to as “man”. Although, it still means the same thing. So, for me, travelling to the other side of the world, where my sister is dying in a city which is called Melaka ( malaka ) just enhances the surreal effect this whole experience had on me.
This is a work in progress, representing a personal account of my feelings and reactions to my sister’s health, as well as a documentary of the ripple effect that it has brought to my family. Taking pictures of her situation is now a natural reflex that has strangely become a need akin to breathing. Having being a photographer for more than twenty years, the urgency to take pictures now is more intense than ever.