My family has a painting of the house my grandfather built in Thessaloniki, Greece. He was born and raised in Thessaloniki in a tiny, broken down home. He lived with his father, mother, and sister in a one bedroom shack and they were very poor. After his mother had died in the 80s, he went back and built a beautiful, big home in the exact same spot of their previous home. Immediately, he had an artist make a painting of the home and he hung the painting in their house here, in New York, which my grandmother still lives in and which he lived in until the day he passed. This painting represents unity for my family. When we are all sitting in my grandmother’s living room and we see the painting, we start telling stories of all of the memories we’ve had there. This house is empty almost all year unless someone goes to visit and usually it’s only my mother and I who do every summer. Even though the house is completely empty other than the two of us for a couple of months, I always feel the unity of my entire family. It’s also the only place I can still feel my grandfather’s presence in. This painting has so much meaning behind it and all I can see when I look at it is my grandfather’s pride and joy that he built with his own two hands.
– Athena Axamidis