Friday, October 12, 2012

The Canadian Embassy’s Chief’s Crest Pole and a Major Disappointment

The pole before conservation in the gardens of the Official Residence
In the gardens of the Residency of the Canadian Ambassador to the Hellenic Republic in Filothei has stood since 1975 an unique example (for Greece, that is) of First Nation art. This is the Chief’s Crest Pole built in the 1960s by the internationally known artist and master carver, the hereditary Chief Tony Hunt ( with his close relatives of the Kwakwaska’wakw ancestry. The weather of Athens over the past 35 + years has taken its toll on this cypress totem pole. At the initiative of Ambassador Robert Peck and the generous financial support of numerous donors the pole is now in a studio on the 3rd floor of the Benaki Museum at Odos Pireos 138 undergoing conservation ( The project is part of the Embassy’s celebration of 70 years of Canadian / Greek diplomatic relations.

Andrew Todd conserving the pole at the Benaki Museum
The person undertaking the cleaning and the conservation of the pole during October at the Benaki Museum is Andrew Todd from Bowen Island, BC ( He will speak to the Athens Association of Friends of CIG at the Institute on Wednesday evening, October 17th at 7:30 PM. Mr. Todd is a recognized expert in the conservation of totem poles. He will share with us what he is doing to the pole and the challenges he is encountering to clean and to restore it to its former glory. In the context of these comments he will contextualize the pole itself and the issues related to conserving and maintaining such a large wooden out-of-doors sculpture. In the meantime, you can watch Andrew work on the pole at the Benaki Museum from Thursday through Sunday. So, don’t miss this unusual opportunity for enlightenment!

A Major Disappointment!!!
A perfect storm of travel woes befell Krista Martynes as she attempted to come to Athens in time for her talk and recital last night at the Institute. Travelling with a large and valuable clarinet complicated her movement from southern France to Athens. We were very disappointed to have missed her appearance at the Institute! Another we time we hope. Those who came to hear Martynes did not go home, however, without their fill of “Canadian content”. They were treated to a showing of the film “Canadian Bacon” while they nibbled and drank the night away.

David Rupp

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