Stand Free – Maria Fragoudaki

Stand Free Athens International Airport

Stand free is an interactive installation which was presented to the public in 2021 at the Athens International Airport in Greece. Stand Free invites visitors to reflect upon the concept of freedom and connect them to the Greek history.


I recognize you by the gaze.
I know who you are; we share the same breath.
You stand here, ancestor and descendant;
200 folds forward· 200 folds back.
You stand here. A reflection is all it takes to bring you into existence.
200 years later. How do you experience Freedom?
The reflection takes you back, to then.
You recognize Freedom along the journey.
A journey that tests us.
That calls upon us to stand up tall.
That tests our resilience.
Take a breath and stand Free.
Stand Free, wherever you are.
Is Freedom, perhaps, in the moment?
Is it, perhaps, the moment itself?
You stand here, in the now.
You stand alone.
You are not alone.
You have yesterday and tomorrow within you.
You stand here.
Suspended slightly above the ground.
And everything fills with light.

Σε (ανα)γνωρίζω από την όψη.
Ξέρω ποιός είσαι· μοιραζόμαστε την ίδια πνοή.
Στέκεσαι εδώ πρόγονος και απόγονος·
200 πτυχές μπροστά· 200 πτυχές πίσω.
Στέκεσαι εδώ. Μια αντανάκλαση αρκεί για να υπάρχεις.
200 χρόνια μετά. Πώς βιώνεις την Ελευθερία;
Η αντανάκλαση σε ταξιδεύει νοερά στο τότε.
Αναγνωρίζεις την Ελευθερία στη διαδρομή.
Μια διαδρομή που μας δοκιμάζει.
Μας καλεί να σταθούμε όρθιοι.
Δοκιμάζει τις αντοχές μας.
Πάρε μια ανάσα και στάσου Ελεύθερος.
Στάσου Ελεύθερος όπου κι αν είσαι.
Μήπως η Ελευθερία υπάρχει στη στιγμή;
Μήπως είναι η στιγμή;
Στέκεσαι εδώ στο σήμερα.
Στέκεσαι μόνος.
Δεν είσαι μόνος.
Μαζί σου το χτες και το αύριο.
Στέκεσαι εδώ.
Λίγο πιό ψηλά από το χώμα.
Και ο χώρος γεμίζει φως.





STAND FREE is an artistic commemoration to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Greek War of Independence in 1821. It is an interactive installation that invites visitors to reflect upon the concept of Freedom, as it is transfigured through the War of Independence, with the objective being to connect visitors to the Greek history.

The means for achieving this connection is none other than the fustanella*. The fustanella, through the mirror, becomes attire so that visitors, “wearing” the fustanella of our ancestors, can Stand Free. The fustanella is the bridge to the past, while the predominant white symbolizes the purity of national struggles and the sanctity of irredentist battles.  Within that context, the concept of Freedom takes on a different meaning of greater import. It is self-evident that Freedom was not possible without Revolution. The struggle of 1821 is the prerequisite historical event that enabled contemporary Greeks to stand Tall, stand Free. It is the boundaries of that Freedom that all Greeks are now called upon to reconsider through the prism of the contemporary world and all of its challenges, whilst preserving our sense of identity and our connection to our past and our history. 

The audio recording that accompanies the installation – accessible via QR code – thrusts the viewer into an immersive experience in which they are free to contemplate the work on their own terms and engage in an internal debate that either consoles or troubles them, thus achieving the interactive effect from both a visual and aural perspective.

*Fustanella is a traditional, men’s pleated skirt-like garment commonly found in the Balkan states (Southeast Europe). The Fustanella is internationally recognized as the garment worn by fighters of the 1821 Revolution and which thus became Greece’s national costume in the early 19th century. The Fustanella is composed of strips of linen sewn together to form pleats. Each Fustanella requires over 30 meters (~100 feet) of fabric and features 400 pleats, representing the 400 years of Ottoman occupation and the liberation of Greece in 1821.