Triptych: Agios Nikolaos, Ground Zero, The Sky Above
Kokines witnessed the events of September 11, 2001 firsthand. The morning started with coffee in a cafe across the street from the World Trade Center, where he mistook the rain of office paper from the first tower strike for snow. Later, he wandered his neighborhood in shock. He was turned out of his nearby home and studio for several months, touching off a period of unsettled transition. He eventually resettled in Chicago, where he made the “September 11” triptych in 2010-2011. "I don't want to forget these things," he said. "How you remember is going to make the difference."
The work was first exhibited in Elgin, Illinois in 2011 and later featured at the national Hellenic Museum in Chicago in 2018-2020.
"I had a great fondness for the little church," Kokines said. "It was from there that I first saw the firefighters enter the World Trade Center." The small St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church was the only building not part of the World Trade Center complex that was entirely destroyed in the attack.
“People who know how to read the code will understand it," he said about this work, "and those who don’t will never understand it.”