Melina Mercouri is probably familiar to readers of the blog for her films, Never on Sunday and Topkapi amongst them.
This week a new show about the star opened in the old gasworks factory, a dynamic and vibrant regeneration district in Athens renamed Technopolis. The gasworks buildings have been reinvented as exhibition areas, a museum about the production of gas for the city (surprisingly interesting!), shops and cafes and businesses including a radio station, and the show is in the largest of the areas.
The exhibition includes costumes and clothes that Melina wore on stage, film and in everyday life, photographs of her life and work, and information about the impact that this first woman Minister of Culture and Sports has had on life in the country. It is due to her that Europe now celebrates a Capital of Culture and that there is a UNESCO International Prize for the Safeguarding and Management of Cultural Landscapes that is awarded for action to protect the world's major cultural landscapes.
As a passionate opponent of the military junta in Greece (1967 to 1974) it appears that she was a formidable force, and as an advocate for the return of the Parthenon Marbles to Greece - "... They are our pride. They are our sacrifices. They are our noblest symbol of excellence. They are a tribute to the democratic philosophy. They are our aspirations and our name. They are the essence of Greekness." she said from the podium at the Oxford Union 1986 - Melina held strong principles and views.
We are now eager to learn more about Melina Mercouri and her efforts to protect and promote global culture for everyone.