Teen artist Achilleas Souras creates some incredible work that communicates a plethora of ideas and emotions to his audience.
But his artistic vision was born out of a need to express himself in ways that he verbally couldn't due to a debilitating stutter.
17-year-old Souras, who was born in London but now lives in Athens, recently opened up about the struggle that came to shape his artistic life.
Souras recalls trying to read aloud in first grade, and getting frustrated that he kept tripping over his words.
"I've been told that when it has held me back, I went through other means to express myself," he says.
While Souras says he can't pinpoint the exact moments when his stutter has influenced him, he admits that "it's definitely something in the back of my head ... that I utilize to do art."
Souras tells his story as part of a video series called My Stutter, which is part of an effort by the nonprofit Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) to de-stigmatize stuttering by having real people talk about how they have overcome or embraced their challenges.
With his recent art project "Save Our Souls," which has been featured in museums around the world, Souras found a way to speak about the refugee crisis.
SOS by Achilleas Souras at Milan Design Week - DAMN° Magazine https://t.co/QbD99SFLJh— Sou-p (@Sou-p) 1504992626.0
While living on the Greek isle of Lesbos, Souras saw scores of life jackets washed up or discarded on the shore, and he decided to create "igloos" out them. Lesbos has seen a massive influx of refugees seeking asylum in Europe, and, as of 2015, more than 450,000 life jackets have been found on its beaches.
"These are global issues that affect us all, and we must try to solve them for everyone's sake” cit.… https://t.co/JCWsGpFKxA— MOROSO (@MOROSO) 1497944071.0
Souras saw an opportunity to shine a light on the dangerous and challenging journey that hundreds of thousands of refugees make across the Mediterranean Sea every year.
It’s #WorldRefugeeDay and today at 6pm @Museo_MAXXI in #Rome unveils Achilleas Souras’s installation Save Our Souls https://t.co/en1gBIlzj1— Domus (@Domus) 1497972540.0
Here's a behind-the-scenes video showing how Souras created the powerful art installation:
When asked if he has any advice for kids and teens who stutter, Souras says, "Simply find a way to work around it or discover a new voice, whether that’s through an artistic form or something you like doing."
He also gives these pearls of wisdom to live by: "Communication is important, but it doesn’t have to be done verbally."
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