The exhibition In Praise of the Olive is one of the most important recent initiatives on the part of the Centre. The exhibition presents all aspects of the place of the olive in Greek life – cultural, athletic, religious, artistic, symbolic and dietary. It underlines the national dimension inherent in the olive and its links with the landscape and inhabitants of Greece over thousands of years. The exhibition was organized as part of the celebration of the Olympic Games in 2004 and was housed in the central building of the Academy of Athens from 16 June to 30 September 2004. It enjoyed notable success and attracted favourable comment from both press and public and some 15,000 visited it.
The exhibition employed various approaches to examine various aspects of the olive over the passage of time. These approaches include history, archaeology, geography, folklore, the cultivation of the olive and the arts. It consisted of six sections, namely
Myths and the archaeology of the olive,
The olive and athletic life
The symbolism of the olive
The landscape of the olive
The olive and olive oil in health and diet
The olive in contemporary life and art
Each section was accompanied by lively academic texts in both Greek and English and contained many exhibits. These included antiquities, traditional and contemporary objects, many photographs and visual works by contemporary artists. New technology and a contemporary approach were employed in the presentation of this material.
The exhibition was held in the Peristeri exhibition centre (KYBE) from 2 February to 30 April 2005, under the aegis of the Municipality of Peristeri, Athens. It was officially opened by F. Palli-Petralia, then Deputy Minister of Culture in the presence of E. Roukounas, then President of the Academy of Athens, and many others.
The exhibition was then transferred to the Katsigra Gallery at Larissa for the period of 11 October 2005 to 28 February 2006, where it was visited by 14,000, including 11,000 students.
In May of 2006, it ws presented in Delfi.
In March 2006 the exhibition was set up in the exhibition centre of the Panthessaliko Stadium at Volos. In September and October 2006, in the building of the Security Council of the United Nations, New York. In August 2007 to October 2008 in the SPAP Congress Centre in Ancient Olympia.