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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 5 May 2018
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 5 MAY 2018 17 FEATURE ‘. . . They walk together grandmother, daughter and granddaughter, dancing within the cyclic rhythm of life the mother delighting in the introductions “This is Yiayia Sophie, and this is little Sophie . . .’ — Konstandina Dounis They Walk Together Other stories chart memories of village life in Greece, marriage, migration, work, and early experiences of life in Australia. A burnished Corinthian helmet forms the centrepiece of ‘Yiayia’. With its cavernous eyes and imposing presence, the helmet evokes the wisdom and strength of the goddess Athena, who was closely associated with the Corinthian helmet in ancient iconography. On coins and vases, in friezes and sculptures, Athena appears again and again wearing this distinctive helmet. "As a female warrior and wise-woman, Athena embodies the spirit of our exhibition, combatting the notion of woman as a purely domestic being. A passage in Herodotus' Histories also reveals the connection between the Corinthian helmet and women as warriors. According to the ancient historian, two tribes of ancient Libya used to choose two maidens to fight a duel in honour of Athena, dressed in Greek panoply including a Corinthian helmet (Histories, 4.180). These associations, which so powerfully undercut traditional depictions of women, make the Corinthian helmet a vital addition to our exhibition and its aims." "We will be displaying a number of other remarkable objects relating to the notion of 'grandmotherhood' and to women's cultural signiffcance in general," continues Ms Craig. "These include a collection of Kastellorizian artefacts, including an intricate child's talisman and a Kavathi, a beautiful example of traditional Kastellorizian women's dress." As the curator of the joint exhibition explains, these objects showcased are imbued with rich histories, which help to convey the untold stories of these women. "Alongside these artefacts, we also showcase several handicrafts which reveal the creative powers of women. One of these objects is a beautiful woolen blanket, hand-woven by Maria Zaras when she was just 14 years of age. The blanket is resplendent with bright tones of red, blue, yellow and green, and offers a striking statement about the vivacity and joy of women in the act of creation. We hope to evoke these feelings in our public programs, held on the exhibition Open Day (Sunday 6 May). In one of these programs, Greek jeweller and textile artist Christina Darras will demonstrate some traditional Greek toy-making techniques, recreating the role played by grandmothers in teaching these skills to their younger relatives. Another workshop invites visitors to get creative by drawing portraits of signiffcant women in their lives. These activities are central to the celebratory and creative spirit of ‘Yiayia’." By emphasising women's creativity and diversity of experience, ‘Yiayia’, and the MMV 'Grandmothers' project as a whole, answer to several cultural imperatives that call for action from museums and institutions today. "There is a real need to fill the silence surrounding women's experiences. Yiayiathes have been telling stories for centuries. Now is the time for us to truly listen." From St Kilda to Carlton, the CBD to Thornbury, this a celebration of women who are loved, and revered, but whose voices are rarely heard publicly, and whose roles are not formally recognised. Our grandmothers feed us, nurture us, and are the givers of knowledge and wisdom. They are storytellers and survivors. Grandmothers will present a joyful, fresh and nuanced representation of their role and significance across cultures. ‘Yiayia’ 6 May – 5 August @ the Hellenic Museum, 280 William St, Melbourne; hellenicmuseum.com.au ‘Our Grandmothers’ 6 May – 18 August @ the Islamic Museum, 15 Anderson Rd, Thornbury; islamicmuseum.org.au ‘Love & Legacy’ 6 May – 28 October @ the Jewish Museum, 26 Alma Rd, St Kilda; jewishmuseum.com.au ‘Nonne: images through generations’ 6 May – 24 August @ Co.As.It Italian Historical Society & Museo Italiano, 199 Faraday St, Carlton; museoitaliano.com.au ‘Wàipó’ 6 May – 16 August @ the Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Pl, Melbourne; chinesemuseum.com.au For more information and a series of one-off events head to mmv.org.au/grandmothers Spice jar, late 19th-early 20th century, Middle Eastern origin. Connie Gregory collection. Brass mortar and pestle, 19th century, Greece. Hellenic Museum collection. Corinthian helmet, 7th- 6th century BCE, Greece. Peter and Mary Mitrakas collection. The centrepiece of the ‘Yiayia’ exhibition at the Hellenic Museum. Copy of photo of a Greek grandmother with her little pig. Photograph of a grandmother holding her own photo. Handspun woollen blanket, Maria Zaras, 1969-70, Greece. Hellenic Museum collection.
28 April 2018
12 May 2018