On April 8 at the Hellenic Museum in Melbourne, Australia, 'Oneiroi' was launched. Oneiroi is a photographic installation by one of Australia’s leading artists, Bill Henson that will be housed permanentely at the Hellenic Museum. The photographs that make up Oneiroi incorporate priceless treasures from the museum's award winning Benaki collection, Gods, Myths & Mortals. The collection showcases artefacts from across 8,000 years of Greek civilisation, including Neolithic pottery, Cycladic statues, Minoan figurines, Mycenaean jewellery, Hellenistic sculptures and Byzantine icons and manuscripts and Henson had almost unlimited access to the artifacts.

Upon viewing the artifacts on display Henson was immediately drawn to the more 'intimately scaled items' and wanted to couple them with a live person. A conservator from the Benaki Museum had flown down to help with the delicate shoot and together they spent a day carefully taking artefacts out of display cases for Henson’s model to handle.
Some of the items Henson picked are thousands of years old, including a gold myrtle wreath (fourth to third century BC), a gold kylix (late 15th to early 14th century BC) and earrings from the Hellenistic period (250-200 BC) featuring pendant Eros figures. Upon being asked if the mudeum had reservations letting him handle the artifacts,  Henson replied:
"There was no issue with them being on a person’s skin or on their head but I think [that’s because] we were working in a controlled environment. The shoot took place inside the museum – it wasn’t as if you were outside, sweating in the sun. But as I understand from what [the conservator] was saying, they have all kinds of sealers and other things on this material to stop it from oxidising, so it was more a case of having them handled properly and moving carefully and slowly."
Henson was also asked if the representatives of the Museum ever felt handing these items over to an artist might be considered sacrilegious due to their age and intended purpose. He replied:
"When I proposed this idea to John Tatoulis [chief executive of the Hellenic Museum] he obviously went away and had a think about it and discussed it with various authorities back in Athens, and no one seemed to think there was any issue at all. Of course the model, if you want to call her that, is really like an armature for the pieces. The way in which I wanted to photograph this was to leave the human presence in the photograph fairly ambiguous. Although the pieces were against human skin, as they were originally intended, they weren’t overtaken by some kind of fashion shoot aesthetic."
For more of the interview with Bill Henson, go here. For more photographs, please go here and for more information on the exposition, go here.