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Tribute to poet Odysseus Elytis

On November 2, 2011 Greece commemorates the 100th anniversary since the birth of poet laureate Odysseus Elytis. To mark the centenary of his birth, 2011 has been designated as Elytis Year by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism. Odysseus Elytis was born in Heraklion, Crete on November 2, 1911 and died in Athens on March 18, 1996.
A major poet in Greek language, Elytis is also one of the outstanding international figures of 20th-century poetry. Elytis’ poetry has marked, through an active presence of over forty years, a broad spectrum of subjects with a rarefied and passionate stylistic touch. The first collections of poetry (Orientations, 1939, and Sun the First, 1943) are joyous and radiant, celebrating the Greek landscape as an ideal world of sensual enjoyment and moral purity.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.
His experience of the war in 1940s marks a departure from the sunny atmosphere of his early youth and poetry, colouring his long poem Heroic and Elegiac Song for the Lost Second Lieutenant of Albania (1943). The attempt of Elytis to identify himself with the nation and speak for himself and also for his country reaches its peak with Axion Esti (‘Worthy It Is,’ 1959), his central and most ambitious work for which he was awarded the 1979 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Centenary Celebrations
The Athens Concert Hall is paying tribute to Odysseus Elytis by holding a two-day (October 31 to November 1) international conference titled Odysseus Elytis: The 20th century in the poetry of Elytis. The poetry of Elytis in the 21st century, exploring new approaches in the interpretation of his work.
On November 2 and 3, there will be an event of original music by George Kouroupos under the title Odysseus Elytis’ This Small, this Great World!, with poetry and prose set to music, representing the main facets of the work of Odysseus Elytis: lyricism, a restless spirit of inquiry, courage, spirituality, sensation and true emotions. Continue reading

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Extended visiting hours for museums and archaeological sites

Culture and Tourism Minister Pavlos Yeroulanos announced new extended visiting hoursof a number of museums and archeological sites in Greece on May 18.
The ministry said that the list will be further enriched in the future weeks, depending on the availability of staff.
The list includes some of the most popular sites and museums in Greece such as the Acropolis of Athens – Archaeological Site, which will be open from 8.00-19.00, all year round; the Thessaloniki Museum of Byzantine Culture; the Archaeological Museum of Thessaloniki; the Archaeological Site of Philippi; the Archeological Museum and site of Mycenae; the Archeological Museum and site of Epidaurus; the Archaeological site of Mystras; the Archeological site and Museum of Afaia, Aegina; the Archeological Museum of Messenia; the Archeological site of Ancient Messene; the Catacombs on Milos island; the Herakleion Archeological Museum; the Archeological site of Knossos and the Spinalonga island on Crete.
The list also includes the Archaeological Museum of Drama; the Church of Panagia Kosmosoteira (Our Lady, Saviour of the World), in Ferres; the Grevena Archaeological Collection; the Museum of Asian Art, Corfu; the Archaeological Collection of Arta; the Byzantine Museum of Ioannina; the Ioannina Treasury; the Fortress of Ioannina; the Igoumenitsa Archaeological Museum; the Nekromanteion of Acheron; the Athanasakeion Archaeological Museum in Volos; the Archeological site of Nea Aghialos, Magnesia; the Byzantine Museum of Fthiotida at Ypati; the Monastery of Osios Loukas; the Corinth Archeological Museum.
Ministry of Culture & Tourism:  Brief Guides to Archaeological Museums in Greece Part I & Part II; YouTube: Culture in Greece [VIDEO] [Photo 3: The Nekromanteion of Acheron – Oracle of the Dead]
(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)

Poems on the Underground – Greek contemporary poetry

The Press Office of the Greek Embassy in Warsaw promotes the contemporary poetry of Greece and participates to   “Poems on the Underground” events (6-30 September 2010).
“Poems on the Underground” (Wiersze w Metrze) has been inspired by other similar projects  in many cities: Dublin, Paris, New York, Barcelona, Stockholm, Stuttgard and Moscow, organised for the first time in London in 1986.
Wiersze w Metrze promotes contemporary European poetry in public city spaces, through happenings, haiku competition, poetry city game and a performing poetry festival.
Many cultural institutes and embassies participate to the project, which takes place under the auspices of the the mayor of Warsaw, Hanna Gronkiewicz-Waltz.
Greek contemporary poetry will be represented by two acclaimed poets, Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas.
Kiki Dimoula has recently been awarded the European Literature Prize for 2010. Her poetry has been translated into English, French, German, Swedish, Danish, Spanish and many other languages.
Dimoula’s poetry is haunted by the existential dissolution of the post-world era. Her central themes are hopelessness, insecurity, absence and oblivion. Using diverse subjects and twisting grammar in unconventional ways, she accentuates the power of the words through astonishment and surprise, but always manages to retain a sense of hope.
Nasos Vagenas, professor of Theory and Critique of Literature in the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Athens, in 2005 was awarded with the State Poetry Prize for his poetic collection ‘Stefanos’.
His poetic work includes the books: ‘Field of Mars’, ‘Biography’, ‘Roxani’s Knees’, ‘Wandering of a non-traveller’, ‘The Fall of the Flying’, ‘Barbarous Odes’ , ‘The Fall of the Flying B’, ‘Dark Ballads and Other Poems’, ‘Stefanos’.
His poetry has been translated into English, German, Italian, Dutch, Romanian, Serbian.
Two poems of Kiki Dimoula and Nasos Vagenas have been translated in polish language for “Wiersze w Metrze” by the professors and students of the Department of Greek Studies of the University of Warsaw (Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies “Artes Liberales”).

Giorgio De Chirico Art Centre in Volos

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The Giorgio de Chirico Art Centre is located in the centre of the city of Volos, Greece’s third-largest port city, where the famous Italian painter was born in 1888.

The Art Centre, located on a pedestrian road next to the Municipal Conservatory, is housed in a new glass building that has been named after the Surrealist painter who was the founder of the “scuola metafisica” (metaphysical school) art movement.
The ground floor, mezzanine and second floors of the Art Centre, which was inaugurated in September 1990, house the Volos Municipal Art Collection.
The latter includes more than 400 paintings, sculptures, hagiographies, ceramics, mosaics and artistic photographs, as well as periodical exhibitions, and a small library.
The other two floors house the Alexander Damtsas Museum, a permanent exhibition of the Volos-born art aficionado’s collection comprising some 500 paintings and gravures by mostly Greek artists representing all the important art styles from the late 19th century to date.
Athens News Agency: The Giorgio de Chirico Art Centre, a cradle of culture in the heart of Volos

Velimezi Collection at Hermitage

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA) The post-Byzantine-era icons of the Velimezi Collection, acquired in 2008 by the Alexander S. Onassis Public Benefit Foundation, will be on display in St. Petersburg’s Hermitage Museum – titled “Holy Images: the Greek Icons from the Velimezis Collection” – opening today and running to December 13, 2009, under the auspices of President of the Republic Karolos Papoulias. The travelling exhibition was launched in 1997 and has already been displayed in 19 state capitals. The Velimezi Collection comprises a total of 91 rare post-Byzantine icons, dating from the 15th to the 19th centuries, representative of various workshops in different parts of the Greek-speaking world.

“Upside Down” AFI at the Benaki Museum

afi(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   An exhibition by the group AFI at the Benaki Museum showcases creations inspired by objects from the museum’s permanent collections, under the title Upside Down. Their works can stand on their own as exemplary artistic entities, as they project their aesthetic integrity publicly and provocatively. The show runs through to June 7, in the form of ad hoc displays throughout the exhibition areas of the permanent collection. Athens Plus: AFI’s contemporary art objects on display at the Benaki  (8.5.2009, p. 27)

The Art Collection of National Bank of Greece on Display

(GREEK NEWS AGENDA)   The exhibition “Greek Artists from the National Bank Collection” opened recently at the National Art Gallery-Museum Alexandros Soutzos (www.nationalgallery.gr), and reflects the taste and mentality of a number of National Bank governors over the years. “Immediately after the bank’s founding in 1841, art played a major role: it was institutional, with the governors’ portraits, it was ideological, with the promotion of the war of independence – still recent at that time – and it was also a matter of aesthetics, “said National Gallery director Marina Lambraki-Plaka. Portraits welcome visitors, and some are originals, but there are also digital prints because it was difficult to transfer the originals from the halls of the National Bank. The collection comprises 2,500 works in total, 200 of which are on display at the Gallery. The paintings range from art by Nikiforos Lytras to Constntinos Volonakis and from Alexis Akrithakis to Costas Tsoclis. The exhibition runs until March 22, 2009.  Kathimerini daily: Artistic treasury goes on display; National Bank of Greece Cultural Foundation (MIET): Collections