A collection of 44 emblematic works of art from the National Archaeological Museum of Athens has traveled to Australia for the forthcoming exhibition “Open Horizons. Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections.”
A collaborative endeavor between Greece’s largest museum, the National Archaeological Museum, and the Museum of Melbourne, carried out under the auspices of the Greek Ministry of Culture and Sports, the exhibition with be hosted from April 23 to August 14 this year.
“In all periods of history, from antiquity to the present day, Greeks have traveled to every corner of the world, following and exploring the open horizons of the seas. The elements that they brought, wherever they arrived, were cosmopolitanism and extroversion, along with the possibility of adaptation, and the creative exploitation of foreign influences,” said Culture Minister Lina Mendoni, who will inaugurate the exhibition in Melbourne later this month.
Australia is home to one of the largest communities of the Greek diaspora in the world, with Melbourne, capital city of the state of Victoria, at the heart of the Greek-Australian community.
“The exhibition ‘Open Horizons. Ancient Greek Journeys and Connections’ is a tribute, both to the numerous Greek communities of Melbourne and Australia, which for decades has maintained a strong Greek spirit despite the great distance from their homeland, and to Australia, a large country that welcomed them hospitably and with generosity,” Mendoni added.
The 44 works of art, loaned from the collections of the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, span four millennia from the Early Bronze Age to the Roman period, allowing the visitor to navigate the longue durée of ancient Greek history. An imaginary thread underlines the exhibition’s core narrative, one that examines how travel and contact with other peoples and cultures enlivened the spirit and influenced the development and spread of ancient Greek culture.
The exhibition not only explores aspects of the ancient Greek commercial diaspora, but also of war and turmoil, colonization, and the incorporation of foreign belief systems in domestic Greek religion. This constant push and pull between Greek and foreign influences can be seen in the artifacts on display, the result of formative experiences through communication with the outside world and the indelible marks they left on Greek cultural identity.