Greek museum builds new bridges of intercultural dialogue with China

Source:Xinhua Published: 2018/12/9 17:28:39

Greece's National Museum of Contemporary Art (EMST) in Athens has been building new bridges of intercultural dialogue with China as part of a wider China-Greek effort to bring the two countries and peoples closer, EMST Director Katerina Koskina told the Xinhua News Agency in a recent interview.

On Tuesday, during the opening of an exhibition of EMST's acquisitions of the past two years, Koskina talked about the collaboration launched last year with the National Art Museum of China (NAMOC) thanks to the support of the culture ministries in Athens and Beijing.

She also expressed her hope that ties between Greece and China in the field of art could deepen in the future.

"Last week, EMST inaugurated in Beijing, China, at NAMOC, a very important exhibition, which includes more than 80 works of art of Greek and international artists. This is a very important moment for us," Koskina said referring to the exhibition entitled In the Beginning Was the Word.

Forty Greek and foreign artists are participating with 80 works that belong to EMST's permanent collection. The exhibition runs until mid-January 2019, as part of the Year of Cultural Exchanges between Greece and China 2017-18.

"It is a great opportunity, because working in the intercultural dialogue, the dialogue between such important ancient civilizations that grew together and today are able to reinforce the old dialogue, is really amazing," she stressed.

"This exhibition was a kind of return since last year EMST hosted a very important exhibition on xieyi [freehand brush work] painting, masterpieces from the NAMOC collections, in Athens, and this was the starting point of hopefully a long lasting friendship and cooperation in the cultural field between Greece and China," Koskina said.

The exhibition Chinese Xieyi: Masterpieces from the National Art Museum of China was open between September and November 2017, and received a warm welcome from the Greek audience.

"The reception from the Athenian audience was very warm. There were excited comments about this exhibition and we had many, many visitors," Anna Mykoniati, EMST's curator, told Xinhua.

Explaining the idea behind the exhibition, which traveled to China, she said that EMST chose writing and script in art as a main theme, because China has a great tradition in calligraphy and this is a theme that Chinese visitors can relate to, getting in parallel an idea about the Greek contemporary art scene.

"The Chinese audience was very open to the artwork, because it is very contemporary art and the collection of NAMOC is more traditional," she said, expressing confidence that Greece and China can enhance intercultural exchange in the coming years.

"China and Greece are both ancient countries, have huge civilizations behind them, and you can relate to that. As far as I can tell from my experience in Beijing, the Chinese have a deep respect and admiration for the Greek civilization and I think that works both ways. It is the same for Greeks too," she underlined.

EMST is one of the partners in the International Alliance of Art Museums and Galleries involving the countries along the Belt and Road initiative. The alliance was established this summer in Beijing.

"We are very hopeful that this will lead to a future collaboration with China and other countries along the Silk Road," Mykoniati said.

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