Nelly’s pictures of Asia Minor refugees

In one of her better-known pictures, Nelly’s had photographed a naked dancer caught in a wonderful midair arabesque among the columns of the Parthenon. The photo is typical of the artist’s talent for capturing the spirit of classical Greek civilization with an innovative and almost daring approach. Nelly’s seldom photographed human pain and distress. She was more a romantic than a photojournalist of realism. But, in the mid-1920s, she recorded one of the harshest realities of modern Greek history, that of the Asia Minor disaster. Over a three-year course, Nelly’s, who was actually, herself, of Asia Minor descent, took pictures of the Greek refugees of Asia Minor and, commissioned by the Near East Organization, printed seven of those pictures, which were subsequently published in the USA to help raise funds for the Greek refugees. These pictures, which belong to the Benaki Museum Photographic Archives, are the subject of an exhibit which opens tomorrow at the Athens Municipal Cultural Center to celebrate the 80th anniversary of the Asia Minor disaster. The exhibit, organized by the Cultural Organization of the Athens Municipality in collaboration with the Smyrna Association, offers a poignant look into one of Greece’s greatest 20th-century tragedies by one of the country’s most celebrated photographers. The photography exhibit will be shown at the Athens Municipal Cultural Center, 50 Academias St, from tomorrow through February 26. For further information, contact 010.364.4449.

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