Lesbos Island, Greece – The Chessboard of the World is a giant outdoor art installation, created by artist Fereniki Tsamparli and realised by the University of the Aegean. The work attributes material and symbolic value to two key issues present in the everyday life at the university located on the Greek island of Lesbos: the unprecedented flow of refugees through the Greek coastline, and the constant flow of paper in academic pursuits.
The large chess pieces, some up to 1.2 metres high, are made from paper discarded by students, and life jackets discarded by refugees.
The pieces were sculpted by a determined group of volunteers who are members of the university community and the TEDxLesvos group. Hundreds of refugee life jackets were transported from the landfill by the Municipality of Mytilene, the capital of Lesbos island.
“Over the last year, the region has seen one of the greatest migrations of humankind. The personal drama encapsulated in each individual arriving has unfolded on the beaches across these islands and left behind, bearing silent witness to lives changed for ever, are the life jackets,” explains the university website.
The project was presented to the public on June 6 for World Environment Day.