The National Hellenic Museum in Chicago, Illinois will reopen this fall on September 26th with a special photography exhibition titled “Resilience” by Prince Nikolaos of Greece and Denmark.
The museum, the second oldest institution in America centered on Greek and Greek-American culture, is located in the country’s third largest city, Chicago, in its Greektown neighborhood outside the Loop.
Prince Nikolaos is the son of Constantine II, the last King of Greece, and Anne-Marie of Denmark. Nikolaos is a prolific photographer who has exhibited his work internationally since 2015.
Resilience, which marks his first North American solo show, explores nature’s beauty as well as the complexity of environmental disasters and our collective reckoning with them. He has long been engaged with such issues outside of art — the 51-year-old sits on the board of the Anna-Maria Foundation, a non-profit founded by the former Greek royal family that helps support the victims of natural disasters in Greece.
The National Hellenic Museum to showcase Prince Nikolaos’ exploration of ecological crises
Resilience will open with a public appearance and presentation by Prince Nikolaos on September 26th. A core work in the exhibition is Sea Cred, a photographic mosaic composed of Parley Ocean Plastic®, a material created with the plastic that pollutes the world’s oceans.
Nikolaos worked in collaboration with the non-profit Parley for the Oceans to produce this piece. Parley for the Oceans works to unite thinkers, creators, and leaders in spreading awareness of the ecological crises facing the world today.
“As an artist Prince Nikolaos is always drawn to open spaces; nature has been an integral theme and presence in his work,” says Marilena Koutsoukou, Resilience’s curator. “Like an archaeologist meticulously excavating, recording and drawing conclusions, the artist’s intent with this body of work is to deconstruct and explore from where this strength originates.”
Nikolaos believes that the strength of the human spirit is capable of enduring the challenges posed by natural disasters. The people of Greece have recently faced an incredibly devastating one in the wildfires that continue to rage across the country. In a statement on the strength and resourcefulness of communities facing hardship, he cited the Greek poet Odysseas Elytis, who said, “If you deconstruct Greece, you will in the end see an olive tree, a grapevine, and a boat remain. That is, with as much, you reconstruct her.”
Despite the profound impact of the climate crisis on Greece in the past month, the issue is one shared by people all across the world, and is beginning to rear its head in other places, too. Prince Nikolaos’ subject matter is one that is increasingly universal — and his work is meant to reach as large an audience as possible, as curator Koutsoukou explains.
“However, this exhibition goes far beyond Greece, it’s Prince Nikolaos’ expression of our collective experience with a new normal, a shared belief that we must let go of our past ways and find ways to celebrate and protect nature and, eventually, ourselves,” Koutsoukou says.