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PAST EXHIBITIONS

LUMINESCENCE: IN OUR NATURE

Humans have always sought to illuminate the natural world. In Luminescence: In Our Nature a bouquet of tall, organically styled sculptures used dichroic optical filters to cast coloured light around their environment day and night, reflecting upon the ancient Greek legacy of scientific advancement through the magnificent forms of our local native flora.

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GREEK LOVE: OUTSIDE THE LINES

When societal boundaries are formed, there are always those who fall outside the lines. ​In this participatory exhibition, queer artist Mayticks collaborated with the Hellenic Museum to explore coded histories and mythologies in ancient Greece. Mayticks' playfully illustrated mural merged contemporary themes with ancient icons to highlight their ongoing resonance in LGBTQ+ communities.

 

Initially unfilled, the exhibition invited visitors to colour between the lines – literally and figuratively painting a more nuanced and authentic picture of our collective past, and opening an artistic dialogue between visitor, artist and museum. Once complete the mural remained on display for the duration of the exhibition, as a celebration of the beauty in diversity – past, present and personal.

WHO ARE YOU?: ATHENS, AOTEAROA AND THE ART OF MARIAN MAGUIRE

In a stunning selection of lithographs and etchings, New Zealand-based artist Marian Maguire combines British, Māori and ancient Greek cultures to create a visual conversation of colonialism, memory, cultural interaction, history and myth.

 

Accompanied by an Exhibition Companion with added historical context from Hellenic Museum curators, this collection of works invites viewers to consider how these factors interplay, and how identity is constructed on a personal, cultural and national level.

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THE STARS KNOW MY NAME

Power. Status. Beauty. The pursuit of these desirable qualities transcends time and culture, and has coloured much of history. In The Stars Know My Name, works from leading multi-disciplinary artist Darren Sylvester are contrasted against a selection of ancient-inspired bronze helmets from the Hellenic Museum collection.​

Though worlds apart, these objects share the same concern for reputation and mortality. Together, this contrasting display illustrates a universal story of human desire for longevity, power and status, in whatever forms they may take.

CYPRIOT POTTERY OF THE BRONZE AND IRON AGES

A collection of 48 well-preserved pieces ranging from simple bowls and jugs to large scale storage and funerary amphora, providing insights into the material culture and lifestyle of ancient Cyprus.  The collection, on loan from Peter Mitrakas and Mary Ann Savas, was divided into three separate time periods of Cypriot history including the Bronze Age, Geometric Period and Archaic Period.

Cyprus is the third largest island in the Mediterranean, and a strategic crossroads linking the Aegean, Anatolia, the Levant and Egypt. Despite this, Cypriots are noted for their independence and individuality, which is visible in the archaeological record; nowhere more so than in the pottery of the ages succeeding the Neolithic.

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THE SUN AT MIDNIGHT

Explore a common thread of Hellenic influence through the works of five Australian artists – Ann DeBono, Rob McLeish, Grace Wood, Stephen Benwell and Ngilan Margaret Dodd.

Viewed in isolation, these works may not evoke Classical influence. But place them together in the heart of the Hellenic Museum and you cannot help but observe their binding thread of Hellenic motifs and principles. From this dance of curatorial vision and artistic intent emerges a dialogue about the ways Greek classicism continues to permeate and evolve in contemporary culture.

RENEGADES

Spanish urban art duo PichiAvo were commissioned to create RENEGADES – three outdoor, free-standing portraits, each depicting a woman from ancient Greek history or mythology. PichiAvo are recognised for their skill at creating connections between painting and sculpture in urban settings,

RENEGADES pays homage to women who were, in their own way, renegades. These women broke away from the traditional gender roles of the time and made an indelible mark on history. 

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AGAINST THE RUINS – PHOTOGRAPHS BY NELLY'S

Upon her arrival to Greece, Nelly's wasted no time and visited the archaeological sites, photographing the monuments and exhibiting her works. Her admiration and romantic approach of the ancient world that led her to create a body of works presented in this exhibition from the Benaki Museum Photographic Archives.

PHOS: A JOURNEY OF LIGHT 

Prince Nikolaos has always been mesmerised by big, open spaces filled with natural light. The way the light shifts from moment to moment, altering the beauty of the terrain in the process, is a never-ending inspiration. His desire to capture these perfect plays between the light and its surroundings is what has fueled his passion for photography. 

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FACES + MASKS  

Through his Faces + Masks photographic series, Greek artist Nikos Vavdinoudis photographs the Bell-wearers (Kodonoforoi) of Macedonia, a Dionysian tradition that has survived the ages in rural Northern Greece. Known for their elaborate animalistic costumes and symbolic rituals, Vavdinoudis captures the obscure yet fascinating ancient rituals that take place at the beginning of January and coincide with the Orthodox Christian holiday of the baptism of Christ.

Although the in-person exhibition has now ended, Faces + Masks is still available to view online in our Digital Gallery.

γιαγιά – GRANDMOTHERS 

Presented as part of the Multicultural Museums Victoria
'Grandmothers' project.

Story-tellers, nurturers, educators: grandmothers play a great many roles within the Greek community. And yet, we barely hear a whisper from these important women in mainstream Greek history, literature and art. 'Yiayia' aims to give voice to these women and their stories and emphasise their role in perpetuating cultural. 

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SIDNEY NOLAN – THE GREEK SERIES 

This exhibition was a tribute to one of Australia's most beloved artists on the centenary of his birth, and made possible with the generous support of the Sidney Nolan Trust. 

Nolan travelled to the Greek island of Hydra and it was there that he began this series of works. 

HAUTE COUTURE IN ANCIENT GREECE:
THE SPECTACULAR COSTUMES OF ARIADNE & HELEN OF TROY

This exhibition brought to life the magnificent costumes worn by Minoans and Mycenaeans of Bronze Age Greece ca 2000 to 1200 BCE. ​In spite of their value, luxurious design and decoration, Aegean costumes and textiles have been among the least understood - until now.

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THE ART OF ADORNMENT

This exhibition was the second collection to be loaned to the Hellenic Museum from the Benaki Museum. 

The 90 intricate pieces of jewellery from this 300 year period, arranged geographically and thematically, showcased the artistry involved in jewellery making.

PAINTING WITH LIGHT 

This exhibition followed Against the Ruins: Photographs by Nelly's and it was a photographic collection of a contemporary of Nelly's: Nicos Zographos. This photographic installaton primarily showcased photographs of Greek monuments. 

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A DECADE OF EXHIBITIONS: 2009 – 2017
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