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From Epirus to the Antipodes

Multicultural Foundations in Artefacts successfully concludes

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(L-R)Exhibition curator Dean Kalimniou, members of the Hellenic Women's Cultural Association ESTIA and MC George Donikian. Photos: Kostas Deves

03 November 2017

Dean Kalimniou's From Epirus to the Antipodes: Multicultural Foundations in Artefacts exhibition at Parliament House successfully concluded on Thursday.

The exhibition, organised by the Hellenic Women's Cultural Association ESTIA, was curated by Kalimniou and comprised over 80 rare 19th century costumes and items of jewellery from Epirus, all part of his personal collection.

The launch took place on Tuesday 31 October attended by the Leader of the Opposition in Victoria Matthew Guy, with media personality George Donikian acting as master of ceremonies.

In launching the exhibition, Mr Guy paid tribute to the Greek community of Melbourne, as well as the diverse efforts of Kalimniou over the years, seeking to showcase various relatively unknown aspects of the Greek cultural heritage and making these relevant to contemporary Victoria.

He noted that the exhibition was the first time that Greek cultural heritage was displayed at Parliament House in such a novel way.

Kalimniou's introduction to the exhibition stressed a continuity of pattern, motif and shared experience deriving from Homeric times.

He pointed out that since Epirus was a region situated upon an ethno-linguistic and religious crossroad, the narrative of the exhibition was based on the cohabitation of Greeks, Albanians, Vlachs, Jews, and Turks in the region, something that can be observed in the traditional crafts of adornment and, in particular, in slight commonalities and divergences in design, of the items on display.

In this way, the whole exhibition, makes the argument that multiculturalism forms the backstory of the Greek migrant's experience and this led the Greek migrant to actively embrace and make particularly enthusiastic and lasting contributions to the development of the Victorian version of multiculturalism.
In its brief duration, the exhibition was visited by over 1,000 people, the majority of whom were of a non-Greek background.

Greek Community of Melbourne and Victoria president Bill Papastergiadis (L) with State Opposition Leader Matthew Guy.

The crowd at the exhibition launch.

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Oh and that belt that one young lady is wearing. My late yia yia loaned her own such belt to our koumbara's family many years ago and they have refused to return it. That angers me no end
Good on you Dean Kalimniou for creating this historic exhibition and I am so sorry that, due to a death in my wife's immediate family, I had to miss being there. Dean is a loyal Epirote and one who cares deeply about that community; can I say that about many others? Can I find great leadership within the community? Have any of them even tried to talk about and promote the great stories of the Epitotiuses of WW2? Just like in that awesome tear jerking song by Marinella. Certainly, I have done so and sent them material just as I have tried and tried with Neos Kosmos but to no avail. So at least Dean is doing the right thing

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