Step into a time machine and journey to rustic, post-revolutionary Greece without ever leaving Sydney, thanks to a photo exhibition, and pop-up event at The University of Sydney’s Chau Chak Wing Museum, featuring an incredible array of ancient Greek artefacts.
The Greek Festival of Sydney and Hellenic Lyceum Sydney have come together to create a pop-up event for Impressions of Greece, an exhibition of the photographic work of William J Woodhouse, the classicist and curator who travelled on foot and donkey through Greece at the turn of the 20th century.
Woodhouse’s glass photography plates capture the beauty of Greece’s landscapes and the rich layers of history found in ancient monuments, Byzantine churches, Ottoman mosques, and contemporary villages. The people he encountered on his travels also appear in the images, conveying the life, vitality, and warm hospitality that Woodhouse experienced.
From May 20-21, the museum will host a festival of Greek traditional garb, live music, and folk dance groups. As part of the program, there will be a Greek taverna with live music and dance troupes, along with tavli boards for patrons to engage in spirited gameplay.
The hero of the pop-up event of the weekend will be the exhibition of the traditional costumes from regions all across Greece, including the National Costumes King Othon and Queen Amalia designed, circa 1837.
The Bavarian royals were imposed, or ‘gifted’, to Greece by western powers after the Greek independence Revolution against the Ottomans and four hundred years of colonial rule. Otto Friedrich Ludwig von Bayern, Otto of Greece, Όθων, and Amalia of Oldenburg, Αμαλία, attempted to curry favour with the belligerent Greeks by designing folk fashion. Despite the controversial past of Germanic royalty in Greece, the costumes, which date back to 1837, are striking and tell an important story of the time. Namely, an emerging nation, Greece, seeking an identity and a foreign leader seeking acceptance and legitimacy.
The costumes have intricate details and vibrant colours. The museum’s curators and specialists from the Hellenic Lyceum Sydney will be on hand to offer floor talks, sharing gossip and tales about the families who previously owned these historic garments.
The exhibition isn’t just about costumes – it is also showcasing ancient Hellenic artefacts and offers the chance to delve deep into history and mythology.
‘Impressions of Greece’ provides a rare glimpse into fashion, design, as well as the intangible and tangible heritage of Greece.
This pop-up exhibition is the perfect way to celebrate all the complexity of what forms modern Greek identities and the richness and beauty that this ancient civilization has to offer. Mark your calendars and get ready to experience Sydney’s Greek eye.
For further details visit the museum site here.