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Ambassador of Greece announces new exhibition in Tbilisi

By Mariam Chanishvili
Friday, November 10
This year, the Embassy of Greece is celebrating 25 years of diplomatic relations with Georgia and on this occasion the exhibition “Costas Balafas, Photographic Itinerary on Mount Athos 1069-2001” under the aegis of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece is organized.

The official opening of the exhibition will take place at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMa) in Tbilisi on November 17.

50 framed works will be presented during the exhibition.

“Among the things that bring Greece and Georgia so close, for so many centuries, the choice of Mount Athos, this unique place where the temporary and the human meet with the eternal and the Holy, is meant as a pious tribute to the common faith of the two people, in its purest expression, that of monastic life and ascetism. At the same time, it is also a reminder of the contribution of Orthodoxy to the shaping of the Georgian and the Hellenic identity,” stated the press release of the Embassy.

With regard to the event, the Embassy of Hellenic Republic in Georgia held a meeting with the Georgian press representatives on November 9. The Ambassador of Greece in Georgia, Dimitris Karabalis hosted the event to provide information about the upcoming plans of the Embassy.

The journalists had a chance to receive information about the exhibition planned by the Embassy and to participate in Q&A session. Ambassador Karabalis thanked the Commercial counselors and Economic attaches and noted that their contribution in organizing the upcoming exhibition should be appreciated.

Costas Balafas is one of the greatest masters of photography in Greece and the leading Greek exponent of humanist photography in the post-war period. His photographs are a unique testimony of Greek history and society, where predominantly the struggles of ordinary Greeks in their daily life are featured.

In 2008, three years earlier before his death, Costas Balafas, entrusted his entire photographic work to the Benaki Museum having been convinced that the Museum would appropriately preserve and exhibit his work. This archive includes 15,000 negatives, original prints, 72 cinematographic films as well as oral recordings and written memoirs. It is a worthy addition to the history and cultural heritage of Greece as well as to the history of photography.

The Benaki Museum houses Greek works of art from the pre-historical to the modern times, an extensive collection of Asian art. The Museum hosts periodic exhibitions and maintains a state-of-the-art restoration and conservation workshop. Although the Museum initially housed a collection that included Islamic art, Chinese porcelain and toys, its 2000 re-opening led to the creation of satellite museums that focused on specific collections, allowing the main Museum to focus on Greek culture over the span of the country's history.

The Ambassador stated that it was difficult to choose the right topic for the event on occasion of 25 years of diplomatic relations with Georgia, but he they decided to choose this exhibition noting that ‘they are not talking about the religious, but humanistic aspect.’

“Our relations include culture, history, politics... This exhibition has to do more with faith and how it has shaped our national identity,” said Ambassador Karabalis.

The Benaki Museum and MoMa have supported to organize the event. The curator from Benaki Museum will be attending the event, taking care of the exhibited work.

In order to find sponsors, the Embassy had to reach out for Greek and Georgian companies. This is the 1st time when the Greek-Georgian event is sponsored by the companies from the two countries. The sponsors include VTB Bank, Georgia Industrial Group, Aegean Airlines, Hellenic Petroleum and Wissol Group.

During the Q&A session, the Ambassador was asked if the Embassy is planning to organize similar events in the future.

“We have been absent for a while, but two things have changed. In the last 9 months we have had more tourists from Georgia than in last 10 years. This is only the beginning. Next year we are expecting the Prime Minister and President to plan a visit to Greece. We are working at all levels and not only on the level of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We are trying to increase footprints of Georgian-Greek relations. Among other things we are organizing a festival of Georgian Cinema in Greece and we will try to bring the authors of the films there,” announced the Greek Ambassador.