The exhibition “Gods, Myths and Mortals” opens on Friday, September 12, at the Hellenic Museum of Melbourne in Australia.
Commencing in 2014 and continuing for ten years, the Hellenic Museum plays host to a priceless collection of treasures from the renowned Benaki Museum, Athens. The collaboration between the Hellenic Museum and the Benaki Museum brings 8,000 years of Greek civilisation to Melbourne. The collection includes: Neolithic pottery; Cycladic statues; Minoan figurines; Mycenaean jewelry; Hellenistic sculptures; Byzantine icons and manuscripts; Post Byzantine secular art and costumes; and Neo-Hellenic art and weaponry, including ornate swords and pistols belonging to Greek revolutionary heroes Kolokotronis and Mavromichalis. These antiquities showcase the developments of history, when dynasties reigned, kings conquered, and cities fell. Through exploring the cultures and technologies of the past, visitors are provided the opportunity to immerse themselves in history while gaining new perspectives on today.
The Benaki and Hellenic Museum collaboration allows visitors to experience the history of civilization. The collections move from mythology to representation; from the Minoans who benefited from trade to the Myceneans who took by force; from the establishment of legends such as the defeat of Troy; to exploring forms of expression and identity.
In addition to the vast collection of Greek antiquities, the partnership also includes access to the Benaki’s collections of Coptic, Chinese, Indian, and African works, as well as one of the world’s most significant Islamic art collections. These collections allow visitors to experience the histories that inform the makeup of society today. Special events around the collections further establish dialogue between contemporary Melbourne and ancient cultures, in exploration of Australia’s diverse cultural identity and makeup. The partnership also provides students with access to Benaki’s extensive education resources, offering an invaluable tool for schools and universities.