The Greek government has promised Australia a huge antiquities exhibition for 2021 to coincide with 200 years since Greek Independence in 1821.
Health Minister Jenny Mikakos, the Victorian MP who clinched the pledge, could not be happier that she took time out from her personal leave to pay a visit a number of Greek officials, including the new Greek Culture Minister Lena Mendoni. These meetings have resulted in “a brand new exhibition” created especially for Victoria.
“This is very significant for both Victoria’s Greek community and Victoria more broadly,” Ms Mikakos told Neos Kosmos, stating that they are already “hammering out the fine details” regarding the theme, venue and security issues necessary to consider when hosting a display of this calibre which will include items viewed outside Greece for the first time.
Apart from the prestige of hosting priceless Greek antiquities that will ensure that Victoria is on the cultural map as a host of priceless works, the display will also draw tourists from around the area.
The Greek Australian MP is proud that Australians at large will have the opportunity to experience the grandeur of Greece and share her culture. “Every time I am in Greece, I go to the acropolis and enjoy the splendour of the Parthenon,” Ms Mikakos said. “During this particular visit, I also went to the Acropolis museum – the proper place for the Parthenon Marbles to be displayed – and met with Acropolis Museum President Dimitris Pandermalis.”
Indication of the Greek government’s support for the Victorian government’s initiative could be seen by the speed in which the exhibition will take place. Despite the fact that exhibitions of this calibre take years to organise, the goal is to ensure that the display comes to Victoria in the bicentenary year of Greek Independence as a symbolic nod to Melbourne’s Hellenic community – the largest outside Greece.
The Andrews Labor Government has already made an election pledge for $200,000 worth of 1821 bicentennial funding for Greek organisations. Now, it will deep a little deeper to host Greek treasures so that Australia at large can appreciate the history and view treasures never before displayed outside Greece.
“I outlined the Victorian government’s ambition to bring an antiquities exhibition to Victoria and [Lina Mendoni] was enthusiastic about this and very interested in working with us to realise this exhibition,” Ms Mikakos said. “Though she was just a few days in her new role, she made time to meet and discuss this with me.”