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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 November 2016
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 NOVEMBER 2016 21 GREECE PHOTO: ANOTHERVISUALDIARY.COM PHOTO: GOOGLE+ Athens’ contemporary art museum finally open A project 19 years in the works, Greek artists are hoping to gain greater visibility While Greece may be synonymous with marble columns and ancient pottery, in the words of the recent Nobel Prize winner Bob Dylan, “times are a-changin”. The capital has seen the country's National Museum of Contemporary Art, EMST, finally open its doors to the public a year-and-a-half after its soft opening, and no one is more excited than director Katerina Koskinas. "We are very used to feeling proud about our past. Now the moment has come to bridge the past with the present," Ms Koskinas told Al Jazeera News. "I think this should have happened years ago." And she couldn't be more right, considering the legislation for the museum was passed some 19 years ago. But the delay, surprisingly, has not been about money, but politics, which some may argue are one and the same thing. Thirty-seven million dollars have been spent on the project, turning the Fix brewery located in central Athens into an art space, along with the purchase of a permanent collection. While still under construction, the museum has been host to various exhibitions, offering a glimpse of its vision and significance. In the meantime however, it has received a few blows as the result of successive governments fighting over regulations and administration. The wasted time cost EMST a $3.3 million EU subsidy, and a grant they had won from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. All that is now in past, and the opening has the country's artists, who face increased struggles as a result of the crisis, welling with hope. While the museum may not have a direct impact on the art market itself, it is creating a new platform for artists to showcase their work, some of whom have their chance in the inaugural exhibition. Since the plan for EMST was conceived, Greece has developed numerous cultural attractions including the Acropolis Museum, two concert halls, and a national library and opera valued at $600m thanks to the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Following on from the Olympic Games, could Greece's next national project be culture? Jesus’ tomb revealed for the first time in centuries A team of Greek scientists in charge of the restoration It is the most sacred monument in Christianity and it is once again the point of attraction for scientists, historians and theologists from around the world. Undergoing a delicate $4 million restoration process, the tomb in which Jesus' body is believed to have been laid after his crucifixion has been exposed for the first time in centuries. The rock-carved tomb had been covered by a marble slab, which has been pulled back to reveal the original 'burial bed' of Jesus Christ. The restoration team has managed, for the first time in centuries, to examine the fill material found beneath the marble slab. The tomb lays in the centre of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, which is situated in the heart of the Christian quarter of the walled Old City of Jerusalem, expanding over the assumed site of Jesus' crucifixion, burial and resurrection. The tomb itself is located inside a structure known as the Edicule, which is being restored by a team of Greek conservators from the National Technical University in Athens. It has been rebuilt four times, most recently in 1810 after a fire. The team of conservators, led by Professor Tonia Moropoulou of the National Technical University of Athens' School of Chemical Engineering, Section of Materials Science and Engineering, previously worked on the Acropolis in the Greek capital and the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. "The techniques we're using to document this unique monument will enable the world to study our findings as if they themselves were in the tomb of Christ," Professor Mo- ropoulou told National Geographic. Restoration works take place at night, in order to not interfere with the swarms of pilgrims and tourists visiting the church everyday, but the site was closed for the slab's removal. The Edicule is traditionally lit by dozens of flickering candles, but for this specific process, industrial light was used for the first time. The restoration project, involving about 50 experts from a wide array of scientific fields, began earlier this year after funding was secured from donors including King Abdullah of Jordan and Mica Ertegun, the widow of Atlantic Records cofounder Ahmet Ertegun, who donated $1.3 million. The Christian denominations that jointly run the church also committed funds. The project is due to be completed next spring. PHOTO: ODED BALILTY/AP. PHOTO: ERMINA DIMITRIOU.
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