The Bicentennial of the Greek War of Independence was marked in Canberra, Australia recently with the opening of a new photographic exhibition showing the daily lives of Evzones, the iconic Greek soldiers who guard the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Athens.
Photographer Nick Bourdaniotis’ work documenting the lives of the soldiers will also be shown in other cities around the country as a way to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the beginning of the Greek War of Independence.
Over one hundred distinguished guests, including the Hon. George Papacostas, the Greek Ambassador to Australia, attended the gala opening of the exhibit at the city’s Hellenic Club.
Photographs auctioned off to benefit Greek Language School
The “National Committee for the 200 Years of Greek Independence 1821-2021” sponsored the exhibit as the inaugural event in a year-long commemoration of the Greek bicentennial in 2021. The exhibit, titled “The Evzones Collection,” was also coordinated by the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia.
The High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus, Martha Mavromatis, along with a host of ofter dignitaries, attended the opening of the show.
One of the photographs in the show was given to the Greek Language School of Canberra by Bourdaniotis to be auctioned off to benefit its programs.
A total of three photographs were auctioned off, raising a total of $15,000 for the school, which is run by the Greek Orthodox Community of Canberra.
Book titled “The Evzones Collection” documents soldiers’ lives
Bourdaniotis has also published a book of the photographs, which is also called “The Evzones Collection.”
The photographer stated at the opening that “We experienced strong foot traffic throughout the exhibition over the two days and we received high praise and positive feedback from every visitor that walked through the doors.”
Elia Economou, the host of the show’s opening, stated to the attendees “In 2016, at the invitation and coordination of the Hellenic Club of Sydney, Nick became the official photographer of the EVZONES tour of Australia – and this became the beginning of not only a passion, but also an obsession with the illustrious and meticulous nature of the Greek Presidential Guard.
“Mesmerizing and compelling photos”
“Nick’s vision and attention to detail to capture the perfect image complements the amazing discipline and precision showcased by the members of the Presidential Guard – combining this with some of the most emotional locations and backdrops has resulted in Nick having captured the mesmerizing and compelling photos as showcased in this exhibition.”
Bourdaniotis, a native of Nambour, Queensland, lived in Brisbane until 2001 before moving to Sydney. The renowned photographer and owner of Bourdo Photography, he was given exclusive access to the Evzones for a period of six months.
He was chosen as the official photographer for the Evzones’ official visit to Australia in 2016. Bourdaniotis was also the official photographer of the “My Greek Odyssey” television series.
“I have a passion for photography,” Bourdaniotis explained to interviewers recently. “Also, a passion for my Greek origin… it’s the feeling you have when you step on the ground at the airport of Athens or when you arrive in the village of your ancestors. I decided to combine them, depicting Greece in a unique way.”
The Evzones Collection Exhibition will also appear at the Government House of Victoria in Melbourne beginning Friday, March 26. The exhibit, which will be open to the public at that venue, will also be shown in Adelaide, Sydney, Brisbane and Perth during the Greek bicentennial year of 2021.