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Parthenon Restoration Project at the University of Sydney November 1, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Architecture Greece, Hellenic Light Oceania, Vote For Return Greek Marbles.
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A 30-year campaign for chips off an old block > The verbs may vary, chiselled, chopped, pillaged, but the fact remains that more than 200 years ago, the English ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, Lord Elgin, used the Royal Navy to transport marble sculptures from the Parthenon to England, where they were sold in 1816 to the British Museum.

Now, with the vast restoration of the Parthenon nearing completion, along with a new Acropolis Museum due to open next year, the time has come for the Elgin marbles, as they are known in England, to go home. But don’t call them the “Elgin marbles” any more.

To Maria Ioannidou, the Director of the Greek Government’s Acropolis Restoration Service, they are simply the “Parthenon sculptures”, and they must be returned to Greece.

“The Parthenon is not a ruin,” she insists. “It stands on its own, and therefore, to see it in its completeness, the sculptures should be returned to complete the Parthenon in its entirety.”

Ms Ioannidou will arrive in Sydney on Monday as part of the Parthenon Project, an initiative of the University of Sydney’s architectural faculty. The project includes exhibitions, a debate on cultural heritage and the annual Wilkinson lecture, co-presented next Wednesday by Ms Ioannidou and Nikolaos Toganidis, the architect responsible for the restoration project.

Ms Ioannidou, 56, has spent more than 30 years working on the Acropolis restoration project, which is funded by the Greek Government and the European Union. In 1975, as a recent graduate in civil engineering, she worked with a committee on the restoration of a small temple on the Acropolis monument, which is topped by the Parthenon temple, built in the 5th century BC. By 2000, she had responsibility for all restoration on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon.

Over the years, the setbacks have been many. “Every day we see something we’ve never dealt with before,” Ms Ioannidou said. Yet the rewards have been remarkable. One day, “we got to a wall on the Parthenon that had never been touched for 2500 years. You could see the chips of the tools used by the original builders. We could touch something that had never been touched, moved or restored for 2500 years. I felt very touched to witness and to be part of that.”

Ms Ioannidou still works 10 to 12 hours a day on the project, but luckily her family understands the commitment. Her husband is an architect, her 24-year-old son is a mechanical engineer and her 21-year-old son is studying applied mathematics at university.

What will she do when the restoration is completed? “I will have a lot of work to do, not only for the Parthenon but the management of the archeological site. The surface of the rock was excavated during the 19th century, so now we have to restore [the] surface of the rock in order to face problems on the monument and enhance the site. It is a never-ending problem.” After she retires, “I would like to stay close to the Acropolis and do a lot of writing, which I haven’t had the time to do because I’ve been so busy”.

If and when the Parthenon sculptures are returned, they will not be placed on the Parthenon itself, but in the new museum, to protect them against the elements. Until then, the artworks will be represented by plaster casts made using the originals.

The Parthenon Project in Sydney is the brainchild of Theodora Minas, a lawyer and graduate of the University of Sydney. Michael Turner, the senior curator of the University’s Nicholson Museum, said Ms Minas was “getting out and spreading the word, the absolute desire of the Greek people to see the Parthenon marbles returned by the British Museum to Greece”. “She’s representative of a new generation of Greeks looking to right this perceived wrong to Greek cultural history and identity,” he said.

A Parthenon restoration exhibition will be on display at the Nicholson Museum until mid-December.

Related Links > http://faculty.arch.usyd.edu.au/parthenon_project_2007/events.html


New book shows Greek cafes as part of Australia’s history June 21, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Books Life, Hellenic Light Oceania.
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They were a quintessential part of Australian life for decades, then quietly faded away. But UQ academic Toni Risson is not letting the phenomenon that was the Greek cafe be forgotten.

Ms Risson, a PhD student at the University’s Ipswich campus, recently released “Aphrodite and The Mixed Grill”, a chronicle of Greek cafes in Australia. The book outlines how these Greek immigrant-operated shops combined the benefits of milk bars, rest stops and diners and brought American treats such as ice-cream sodas and sundaes to Australian towns from the turn of the 20th century to the 1970s.

Ms Risson said Greek cafes had been part of the Australian landscape as a place to meet after going to the pictures, for travellers to stop on long journeys or families to visit while window shopping in the days before television. Towns such as Ipswich had more than a dozen Greek cafes when the trend was at its peak.

“They were just everywhere; they were like McDonald’s,” she said. “Apart from the face behind the counter, and sometimes the name of the establishment, nothing else was Greek; they served milkshakes, toasted sandwiches, the mixed grill, simple British-Australian food.”

While the food was familiar, the Greek faces and accents were not, and Ms Risson said many cafe proprietors bore the brunt of racism in a way other ethnic groups did not.

“They were at the forefront of multicultural Australia, the Greeks were at the centre of the business district, they were at the centre of people’s lives,” she said.

Ultimately, Greek cafes began to close down in the 60s and 70s due mostly to the rise of television, better cars and American fast food outlets. According to Ms Risson, few traditional Greek cafes remain in Australia; the Niagara in Gundagai and the Paragon in Katoomba are the best known.

Aphrodite and The Mixed Grill started out as an 8000-word dissertation for a one-semester subject Ms Risson took in 2005. She said once she began to learn about the Greek immigrants who ran the cafes, she realised the tale needed a book, not an essay. “It’s just been a privilege for me to meet these people and be trusted with their stories” Ms Risson said.

An exhibition of the photos in Aphrodite and The Mixed Grill, called Greek Cafes in Ipswich, opens at Ipswich Art Gallery on August 11, coinciding with the Ipswich launch of the book.

Have a Bouzouki Tonic February 26, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Oceania.
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Fringe Festival 2007, New Zealand
Bluenote Productions Presents Bouzouki Tonic
Tuesday February 27 7pm
Bluenote Bar Cnr Cuba and Vivian Streets, Wellington, New Zealand
Tickets $10 from Bluenote Bar

Bouzouki Tonic is a show on the fringe, it’s different as it is something that people don’t often get to hear live authentic Greek music locally especially from the exotic instrument the Bouzouki.

With Greek mezze food available the Bluenote will capture the atmosphere of the exotic Mediterranean in the heart of Wellington and the audience will be able to fully participate and have fun.

Nic and Antonis have been playing together for 12 years and are considered the best local exponents to bring the bouzouki alive. Expect to hear popular songs of Greece including old favourites including Never on Sunday and Zorba the Greek.

So bring along your dancing shoes and have a night with a difference at the Bluenote. Opa!

Exhibition in Melbourne “The Macedonian Cause” November 17, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Oceania.
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The director of the Macedonian Cause Museum, Vasilis Nikoltsios, is to open in Melbourne on Friday the photo exhibition “Macedonian Cause 1904-1908”.

The photographic material comes from the Macedonian Cause Museum, from the personal archives of Mrs. Natalia Ioannidou, grand-daughter of Pavlos Melas and Mr. Nikoltsios.

An impressive album containing pictures and text in English, describing the Macedonian Cause will also be exhibited.

UQ academic morphs into character for Greek tale October 31, 2006

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A UQ lecturer will examine modern psychology through ancient mythology in a performance showing at Metro Arts from November 8.

Metamorphoses comprises four selections from Tales from Ovid by Ted Hughes. The play will run from November 8 – 28 at the Sue Benner Theatre, Metro Arts, Edward St, Brisbane city. Performed by the Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble, Metamorphoses is a production involving a number of UQ graduates, including director Leah Mercer.

UQ lecturer in Linguistics and Drama and Artistic Director of the ensemble, Dr Rob Pensalfini, is both an actor and voice coach for the production.

“The performance is a stage adaptation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses, archetypal Greek tales. The production uses Ted Hughes’ treatment of Metamorphoses to fuse text-driven training with physical theatre approaches,” Dr Pensalfini said.  “In all of the stories, in some way or another, someone transforms, they turn into a different shape.

“I think the idea behind the transformation or the metamorphoses in the classical texts is that it shows us the power passion has to transform us in our lives. It shows that when passion achieves a level that is mythic, it’s huge, and it initiates a physical transformation in a person. “It’s a metaphorical expression of the things we experience in our own lives. It is an exploration of society today. It addresses what we may refer to as people’s shadows.”

Dr Pensalfini said fairytales had appealed to children through the centuries because they always had a deeper meaning. He said the stories in Metamorphoses explored similar deeper meanings about life. It is the appeal of myths over generations.

The UQ-based Queensland Shakespeare Ensemble was created in 2001 with an aim to engage the Queensland community in accessible theatre. The ensemble’s core belief is that performance is most potent when actors train together, exchanging skills, experience and a sense of community.

The group has built its reputation on transforming complex texts into exciting and easily accessible performances, and was heavily involved in the World Shakespeare Congress earlier this year.

For bookings to Metamorphoses, phone 3002 7100 or visit: www.metroarts.com.au.

Related Links > http://www.qldshakespeare.org

Sydney University Greek Society’s 50th anniversary October 4, 2006

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Sydney University Greek Society celebrates 50th anniversary

A big event was held at Sydney University Mc Laurin Hall to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sydney University Greek Society in the presence of some of the founders, headed by the first president and present professor, Manolis Aronis, who laid the foundations for the setting up of the Society. Most moving moments was the cutting of the anniversary cake by both the present president, Grigoris Detsikas and Manolis Aronis, the past and the present together looking forward to the future.

In his speech the President of the Society, Grigoris Detsikas underlined the significant and multi-dimensional contribution, social, cultural, economic and certainly political of the Sydney University Greek Society for the promotion of Hellenism in the broader area of the university.

Sydney University vice-dean, Gavin Brown congratulated the society for its contribution and stressed that its role from now on is to secure that Ancient and Modern Greek Studies take the significant place they should have in modern Australia.

Ruling party deputy, Bronwin Bishop, representing John Howard government spoke highly of the Greek community in Australia who embodied in the Australian community and adopted Australian values, being an excellent example for the other immigrant communities. To confirm her claim, she referred to omogeneia members who with their activities have excelled in Australia.

The President of New South Wales Hellenic Orthodox Community, Haris Danalis in his address stressed that today’s students should follow the example of the oldest generation students and lead the struggle for multiculturalism, social justice and assistance to new immigrants in the country.

Many speakers took the stand with last speaker the Director of the Modern Greek Studies department, Brasidas Karalis who referred to the history of the department from 1974 and on, headed by Dr. Alfred Vincent and professor Michalis Jeffrey became the most significant center of Greek studies in New South Wales and played a most significant role in the preservation and spreading of the Greek language and culture in Australia.

Greek Film Festival continues with great success October 4, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Hellenic Light Oceania, Movies Life.
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Greek Film Festival continues with great success in Australia

An article entitled “States of Origin” in the newspaper “The Australian” refers to the 14th Greek Film Festival in Sydney, underlining that this cultural event was well receive by the Greek-Australian community.

The article includes statements of the New South Wales Hellenic Community President, Haris Danalis who underlined that 70% of viewers have close bonds with Greece and most of them watch the movies of nostalgia.

Eleni Goritsa, the Festival coordinator, referring to the opening film “Sirens in the Aegean”, comedy directed by Nikos Perakis, said that Greek humour is very caustic and tart because of the richness of the language. For example there are five words for love, all five with different meanings.

“The Sirens in the Aegean” is a comedy, screened on the island of Kos, and satirizes the tension in Greek-Turkish relations. Certainly the language is very naughty as the plot centers on the loose tongued soldiers of a Greek Army post, also involving the passengers of a Turkish boat with beautiful women, a television crew and illegal immigrants.

Mr. Danalis, 53, who lives in Australia, said that some women were shocked by the naughty language but asked whether the new generation of Greek women in Greece would be annoyed he said “absolutely no” because they are exposed to these hearings used by their children.