The culmination of Nick Bourdaniotis’ photographic work came to life on Tuesday night, during the national media launch of ‘The Evzones Collection’, held at St Spyridon hall in Sydney.
Nick Bourdaniotis, a renowned Greek Australian photographer became the official photographer of the Evzones tour of Australia in 2016, at the invitation of the Hellenic club of Sydney.
“This became the beginning of not only a passion, but an obsession with the illustrious and meticulous nature of the Greek presidential guard,” exhibition-launch host, Ilias Ikonomou, said.
The launch was the first of many events, in collaboration with the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, celebrating the 200th Anniversary of Greek Independence.
“It is fitting that the subject of this exhibition, the Evzones Collection, is the uniform of the Evzones, the elite ceremonial unit, known as the presidential guard of Greece,” said Ikonomou.
“The uniform worn by the Evzones is based on the clothing worn by men at arms and klephts during the Turkish occupation of Greece at the time of the Greek war of independence. Subsequently, it has become a symbol of the war of independence.”
Dignitaries present at the event included His Grace Bishop Emilianos Of Meloa, Chancellor of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, Consul General of Greece in Sydney Christos Karras, representatives of the Kalymnian Association of NSW and Fr Steven Scoutas.
Attending on behalf of His Eminence Archbishop Makarios, His Grace Bishop Emilianos Of Meloa, said that “the quality of the art is amazing. These pictures say more than a thousand words, but they also talk about emotions. They describe a certain second in time.”
“Every moment is different… every moment of our lives, as we can clearly see before us, is unique,” he said.
Also speaking at the launch, Consul General of Greece in Sydney Christos Karras said the exhibition offers people the opportunity to connect with modern Greek history and culture.
“The Evzones are well known for their distinctive uniform, which has a long history and is inextricably linked to Greece’s national identity,” Mr Karras said.
“The Evzones became a symbol of the war of independence. After 1821, their uniform was adapted as the offical national attire. The Evzones encompass Greece’s history, traditions and collective memory. All things that make Greece the ‘homeland’ and make Greeks proud of their heritage.”
The exhibition is a compilation of Nick’s best photos featuring the Evzones, telling their history and stories through thousands of small pixels.
Nick gave thanks to his family for their incredible guidance, along with George Karatonis, who he labelled as the “creative wizard” of the exhibition, for his amazing talent and dedication.
“The Evzones are an important part of Greece’s history, dating back 152 years. The most significant achievement was to shoot the Evzones behind the scenes. Taking photos of their daily lives, travelling on the bus while no one spoke, no one moved,” Nick Bourdaniotis said.
“Looking at the paintings around the room, you’re feeling the Evzones raising the Greek flag. I’m so happy I could share this with you, looking around the room tonight, and hope you can share the same feeling I felt.”
The Evzones Collection launches on Saturday the 20th of February and will be on display in Sydney, Canberra, Perth, Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane for the remainder of the year.