Henson's ONEIROI opens

14 April 2016

The arts world gathered at the Hellenic Museum last Thursday night to catch the first sneak preview of Bill Henson’s new exhibition ONEIROI before it officially launched to the public on Friday.

The crowd gathered for drinks and canapés in the MPavilion before the exhibition was officially launched by Naomi Milgrom AO, Chairperson, Naomi Milgrom Foundation. Following speeches, the guests were invited upstairs to view the exhibition ONEIROI.

Speaking on the night, the Hellenic Museum’s chairman Harry Stamoulis noted that “projects of this magnitude need support”.

L-R: Valenti Stamoulis; Bill Henson, artist; with Harry Stamoulis, Chairman, Hellenic Museum. 

“It was through the generous patronage of the Buckingham family that we were able to realise such an ambitious project,” said Mr Stamoulis acknowledging the project’s main supporter Robert Buckingham.

Mr Stamoulis also noted that ONEIROI “will enable the museum to advance its mission to connect with a broader audience, which in turn will add to Melbourne’s vibrant arts and culture scene.”

ONEIROI is a photographic installation by one of Australia’s leading artists, Bill Henson that will be housed permanently at the Hellenic Museum.

The photographs that make up ONEIROI incorporate priceless treasures from our award winning Benaki collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals. The exhibition represents over 8,000 years of Greek history and culture and comprises pieces of exquisite beauty and immense cultural significance. Henson’s unique style uses composition, chiaroscuro and the human form to create powerful, narrative driven works of art.

L-R: Freda Paten, model, ONEIROI; Christina Simantiraki, Consul General of Greece in Melbourne; with artist Bill Henson. 

“The treasures identified within the ONEIROI artwork, from a 4th century gold wreath to the knife used by a revolutionary leader during the War of Independence, reflect the ways in  which Greece has changed through the ages,” said Mr Stamoulis.

“It was with this in mind that our CEO, John Tatoulis, approached Bill Henson and asked him to incorporate some of the items from the exhibition Gods Myths & Mortals into a new series of works. Bill’s interest in Classical history and his standing as one of Australia’s, and indeed the world’s, foremost  contemporary artists made him the ideal person to capture the relationship between past and present. Irini Geroulanou, Acting Director of the Benaki Museum wholeheartedly supported this endeavour and sent Conservator Elefteria Goufa out to oversee the process to insure the wellbeing of the works while the photography took place.”


Above: Hellenic Museum chairman Harry Stamoulis addresses the crowd. 

In attendance at the launch were:  Australian Ambassador to Greece, John Griffin;  Greek Consul General, Christina Simantiraki; and Federal Member for Calwell, Maria Vamvakinou.

ONEIROI is on display now at the Hellenic Museum, 280 William Street, Melbourne. For more information call (03) 8615 9016 or email info@hellenic.org.au