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.
The crowd at the exhibition launch.