Last Thursday night marked a very promising start to one of the most iconic arts festivals in South Australia, in the presence of government and community dignitaries who gathered at the Adelaide Pavilion in the Veale Gardens for the official launch.
Held annually, Festival Hellenika (formerly known as The Greek Cultural Month) celebrates and promotes Hellenic arts and culture through several events which offer an open platform for local artists of any background to showcase their Hellenic connections through their work, and has become a major part of South Australia’s cultural scene.
Celebrating the festival’s 26th anniversary, president Loula Dacolias announced the upcoming events and program guide for 2017.
“As always, I’m excited about the Festival Hellenika 2017 program, which is made possible through the passion and commitment of our committee members. Through our annual gatherings of artists we will continue to offer a wide-ranging series of performances, screenings, presentations, exhibitions, concerts and events that reflect the talent and passion that have engaged audiences throughout South Australia for a quarter of a century.
“We are proud of our creative achievements and our long-standing aim is to encourage, nurture and promote all aspects of Hellenic cultural creativity and its Australian manifestations. Our aim is to reach people from all walks of life, including a commitment to people from early childhood through to tertiary level,” Ms Dacolias said in her opening speech.
The Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Volunteers, Zoe Bettison MP, also attended the launch representing the Premier of South Australia, Jay Weatherill MP.
“I have to say you are a very hard-working group. I do a lot with many different communities and I always enjoy your enthusiasm and commitment to celebrating events,” said Ms Bettison, before congratulating the Festival Hellenika organisers for the quality program they have put together.
“Twenty-eight per cent of Australians were born overseas. One in two of us has a parent born overseas. Multiculturalism isn’t the other, it’s us, and our Greek community stands proudly in how we build our state to where we are today.”
A music concert at the Dunstan Playhouse (Saturday 1 April) featuring world-renowned international singer and santouri player Areti Ketime and fellow musician Manolis Kottoros will be the highlight in this year’s festival, followed by a second musical event to be held at the Marion Cultural Centre on Friday 21 April, featuring Apodimi Kompania, one of the world’s leading exponents of rebetika and Greek folkloric music.
Furthermore, as 2017 marks 60 years since the death of Nikos Kazantzakis, there will be a presentation regarding one of Greece’s most famous and internationally acclaimed writers.
Established in 1991, with the support of the Greek Consulate General of Greece in South Australia, Festival Hellenika is a non-political, non-sectarian, non-profit and independent organisation with a governing board of elected volunteers.
“Festival Hellenika has been celebrating Greek culture in Adelaide for 26 years, bringing together the old and young generations of Greeks while introducing our Hellenic culture to the broader Australian community,” said Consul General Andreas Gouras after personally thanking Minister Zoe Bettison and chair of the South Australian Multicultural and Ethnic Affairs Commission, Hon. Grace Portolesi, for always supporting the Greek community in South Australia.
“Our civilisation has spread throughout the world and has influenced the global civilisation and I would like to thank you both for the support and respect you show towards one of the oldest and most important civilisations of the world,” Mr Gouras said.
The official program for the festival, which runs from February to May 2017, can be found on the website: www.festivalhellenika.org.au