Angelos Delivorias, director of Benaki Museum, in Greece, speaks to Neos Kosmos about the cooperation of his museum with the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne.
“We have always expressed an interest to communicate with audiences outside the geographical borders of our country,” said Angelos Delivorias, the director of the renowned Benaki Museum in Greece, speaking to Neos Kosmos. “We wish to do this either by taking part in cultural events abroad, or, by lending some of our exhibits from our permanent collection of 40,000 items for exhibitions to overseas museums.
“This year the museum is implementing another extroverted initiative, by lending 200 artefacts from our permanent collection to the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne for a period of ten years,” said Mr Delivorias.
“Our Museum wishes to get in touch with Hellenism and foreigners throughout the world and in the case of the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne we find an ideal partner, because Australia is an entire world and because Hellenism in Melbourne really blossoms,” he said.
“We are talking about a permanent exhibition that will be on for a period of ten years; in essence it will be a mini version of our own exhibits in Athens, it will be Greek treasures across the millennia,” he told Neos Kosmos.
“The exhibits that we are giving to Melbourne cover Ancient Greece, the Roman occupation of Greece, the Byzantine and the post- Byzantine period, as well as modern Hellenism from the Struggle of Independence in 1921 till the coming of King Otto.
“Apart from these exhibits, every year we will be sending to Melbourne an exhibition like the ones that the Benaki Museum continuously organises abroad.
“I have never been to Australia,” said Mr Delivorias, “but we have always had close cultural exchanges with this far away continent. Amongst others we hosted an important exhibition with Aboriginal works of art during the Cultural Olympiad in 2004 in Athens,” he stated.
“I know that the Hellenic Museum is a gem, housed in a great historical building in Melbourne. These cooperation give us strength during this period of economic crisis and open up new opportunities for new cooperation,” he said, stressing at the same time that his museum would be interested in exhibiting the modern artistic creations from Australia in its ‘house’ in Athens.
The Benaki collection opens at the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne mid year, 2014. The partnership between the two museums also includes access to the Benaki’s collection of Coptic, Chinese, Indian, and African artefacts, as well as items from the significant Islamic art collection of the Athens museum.
The Benaki Museum was founded in Athens in 1929, and is named after its founder, Greek industrialist and philanthropist Antonis Benakis (1873-1954).
Angelos Delivorias has been the director of the museum since 1973. He is also a professor of Art History in the Department of Theatre Studies at the University of Athens.
source: Neos Kosmos