Buy This Issue
The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 December 2015
NEWS 4 THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 DECEMBER 2015 DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM Farewell Ambassador Dafaranos Hundreds attend Canberra send-off and exhibition launch MICHAEL SWEET Greece's Ambassador to Australia, His Excellency Mr Haris Dafaranos, bade farewell in Canberra this week, combining his valedictory speech in the capital with the unveiling of an exhibition depicting Athenian street artists' responses to the eurozone crisis and its effect on Greece. “I wish to express a deep sentiment of gratitude to this hospitable country, for hosting and gracing us with her fairness and strong Philhellene sentiments.” More than 300 guests, including Greek community leaders and parliamentarians, thronged the Greek embassy's residence in Yarralumla to warmly honour the ambassador and his wife Eva on the conclusion of their four-year posting to Australia. Reflecting the themes of the exhibition 'Murals of Athens' curated by Eva Dafaranos, the evening was a shared reflection not only on the ambassador's imminent depar- ture, but on the fact that his posting coincided with some of the most turbulent years in Greece for a generation. In notes prepared for the exhibition, Mr Dafaranos said he and his wife felt the need to combine their farewell with an event that expressed themselves "as an adieu to friends". The exhibition, made up of photographs of murals created over the past six years in Athens, show artistic reactions to what the ambassador described as "the austerity and pauperisation imposed on our country [and] the sufferings of a proud European nation". The ambassador went on to describe the collection of photographs as a symbol of how "humanism is the way forward" and that a country that is "the cradle of the notion of democracy” had undergone "unnecessary sufferings in order to be transformed into a market". In his speech, Mr Dafaranos thanked his Australian friends and colleagues for "the opportunity to work with you, share thoughts and experiences, and in enriching ourselves as modern itinerant Ulysseses”. "I wish to express a deep sentiment of gratitude to this hospitable country, for hosting and gracing us with her fairness and strong Philhellene sentiments," he added, Eva and Haris Dafaranos welcome guests to the Greek embassy residence on Wednesday. before quoting poet George Seferis. "As our Nobel Laureate poet said in his prize acceptance speech to the Swedish Academy in 1963: 'In our gradually shrinking world, everyone is in need of all the others. We must look for 'Man' wherever we can find him. When on his way to Thebes, Oedipus encountered the Sphinx, his answer to its riddle was: 'Man'. That simple word destroyed the monster. We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.’ " Mr Dafaranos said that the decision to combine the ‘Murals of Athens’ exhibition opening with his own farewell was "an effort to acquaint you with contemporary Greece so as to feel the beating of the collective Greek heart, despite agonies, survival mode, and insecurity about the future". Present as guest of honour to open the exhibition was the Australian Greens’ deputy leader Scott Ludlam, whose Senate motion in June argued for the then treasurer Joe Hockey to take an active role in opposing the IMF's stringent austerity measures as negotiations for Greece's last bail-out took their course. Ambassador Dafaranos paid tribute to Australians of all walks of life, both Philhellenes and those of Greek heritage, "who stood by us and did not lose hope and faith that Greece shall overcome, PHOTO: MIKE SWEET. particularly during the last three difficult years”. “They kept their deep sentiments of solidarity and philanthropy and supported many social causes in the mainland, alleviating the hardship endured by their compatriots," he said. Asked what memories of Australia he would cherish, the ambassador said the continent's natural wonders and "the genuine soul of Australians" would stay with him always. Wake Up: a piece of street art from Exarchia district presented in the ‘Murals of Athens’ exhibition. “We have many monsters to destroy. Let us think of the answer of Oedipus.” Ambassador Dafaranos quoted George Seferis in his farewell speech. PHOTO:ELENI KYPRIDIS. Access Control, a mural painted in Gazi by street artists Iva and INO, is one of the works presented in the ‘Murals of Athens’ exhibition.
28 November 2015
12 December 2015