Zito I Ellas: online exhibitions commemorate—and complicate—200 years of Greek independence

Hellenophiles can explore Greek history and contemporary culture through a selection of shows and events

Unknown artist, Petrobey Mavromichalis rousing Messinia, copy of an oil sketch from a group of paintings depicting scenes from the Greek Revolution created by Peter von Hess, 1839 National Bank of Greece S.A.

A number of exhibitions and events have been organised in Greece to commemorate the country’s 200th anniversary of independence, marking the start of the revolution against the Ottoman Empire on 25 March 1821. While celebrations are somewhat tempered because of Covid-19 lockdown restrictions and many museums are not open to the public, there are still many online exhibitions, talks and films that Hellenophiles can view at home, selected by our Greek sister paper.


While the Benaki Museum has planned 1821 Before and After, perhaps the most comprehensive programme of exhibitions and research projects tied to the history of Greece’s development into a modern state, there are a few exhibitions that present different perspectives of the 1821 Revolution. The first is Oath, an online show of a painting series by Vangelis Tzermias at the War Museum in Athens, made as a tribute to the heroes of the Revolution.

A group painting show at Sianti Gallery entitled Let us call again… on freedom!, curated by Louiza Karapidaki, includes paintings that show scenes of victory and defeat by contemporary artists such as George Stathopoulos, Gannis Fokas, Manolis Haros and Erato Hadjisavva.

As Philhellenism spread through Europe during the revolution, France became a leading supporter of Greece’s independence, and the Institut Français is marking 200 years of friendship and cooperation with the online exhibition With Love For Greece, organised in collaboration with the National Library of France (BNF) and the journalistic website of Retronews.

As a counterpoint, the project 200 Years of Suffocation curated by the art duo FYTA focuses on all the voices that do not fit into the prevailing narrative around Greek identity and will likely not be seen in the official bicentennial celebrations. “This exhibition is made by subjects and talks about subjects who suffocate within the framework of Greek Orthodox patriotism and use creative means to express their dissatisfaction with a mythology that does not include them, does not express them, does not concern them,” the artists write.

Kangelina Tromokratisch and Katerina Paraskeva


The Hellenic Costume Association is organising a Zoom conversation on Saturday 27 March with Ioanna Papantoniou, the president of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, and Angeliki Giannakidou, the president and director of the Ethnological Museum about the history of Greek fashion and dress.

The Epigraphic Museum, which documents historical inscriptions throughout Greece, looks at the history of its neighbourhood, Exarchates, and the people who have lived there in a series of digital presentation starting Monday 29 March.

And The New New, an online programme of works by students and young artists has been launched on YouTube by Video Art Zero, an independent organisation that promotes video art. Nine curated sections are presented in collaboration with the Greece’s schools of fine and audiovisual arts.