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The Benaki Museum: A fresh take on an old craft

The Benaki Museum of Greek Culture in Athens is giving voice to the famed marble sculptors of Tinos and seeks to reinvigorate interest in a dying craft that thrived for thousands of years on the Cycladic island.

Put together by Italian curator and design historian Maria Cristina Didero, the exhibition “A Future for the Past: Marble sculpting converses with contemporary design,” stems from a two-year research program with the marble atelier on•entropy on the dialectic relationship between the two worlds.

The program also explored how the combination of the two can serve as a vessel of social and economic progress for the marble sculptors of Tinos and beyond.

Tinian marble craftsmanship, which is passed down by masters and mentors to apprentices, was inscribed on UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage List in 2015.

At the Benaki museum, pieces of traditional craftsmanship are juxtaposed with contemporary design objects from on•entropy in a bid to recast the craft and the material.