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Asia Minor Hellenism: Heyday – Catastrophe – Displacement – Rebirth

Start Date 15 September 2022
End Date 12 February 2023
Venue Benaki Museum
Location Athens, Greece
Curator Evita Arapoglou
Exhibition display of mannequins in Hellenic dress

Under the Patronage of H.E. the President of the Hellenic Republic Ms. Katerina Sakellaropoulou

The Benaki Museum and the Centre for Asia Minor Studies are co-organising this large commemorative exhibition to mark the centennial anniversary of the Asia Minor Catastrophe.

More than 1,000 exhibits and over 500 photographs bring to life the heyday of Hellenism before the persecutions, the dramatic period between 1919 and 1923 as well as the settlement and integration of the Asia Minor refugees in Greece.

Visitors embark on their journey to the ‘heyday’ of Asia Minor Hellenism (first section) in Ionia and the west coast, they proceed to Cappadocia and the southern provinces, travel to Pontus, then continue towards the West and the environs of Istanbul and they end up in Eastern Thrace.

The heyday is followed by the period of persecutions, the conclusion of World War I and the ensuing Treaties, the period of the Greek landing in Asia Minor and the ensuing Campaign, the ‘Catastrophe’ of 1922, as well as the ‘Exodus’ of refugees (second section).

The third and final section of the exhibition focus on the settlement and integration of refugees in Greece, as well as their impact on many sectors of Greek society. Part of the epilogue of the exhibition is dedicated to the creation of the Centre for Asia Minor Studies in 1930 by Melpo and Octave Merlier.

This chronicle is described through works of art, icons, ecclesiastical, war and personal heirlooms, costume, jewellery, handicrafts, maps, photographs, archival and cinematographic material, newspapers, letters, postcards, and many other items. Excerpts from personal testimonies complement the narrative, bringing images and silent objects to life.

Images courtesy of Benaki Museum, Athens. Photos: Menelaos Myrillas