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Puppet - Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre, Yero Bisbikis, 1960s Object Reg. No: SH 911428

Summary:
This puppet was made in the 1960s by the Greek puppeteer and popular artist Abraam (Antonakos) in his Athens workshop, and used in performances in Greece during the 1960s. This and most of the puppets in the collection were brought to Australia by Abraam Antonakas for his performances at the Astor Theatre in Melbourne in 1977. He then left the collection with Dimitri Katsoulis who used them in all his subsequent performances in Victoria and in South Australia from 1978 to 1991. Dimitri Katsoulis migrated to Australia in 1974 to escape a regime that repressed Greek artists. He had trained in Greece with theatre and film companies as an actor and technician. A master of the traditional Greek shadow puppet theatre, his performances explored contemporary issues such as the isolation of migrant women and children. Unable to obtain funding and support, he returned to Greece in 1991, leaving his entire collection to the people of Victoria. It includes 32 shadow puppets and around 170 props, set backdrops and technical tools and stage equipment. Dimitri has since returned to Melbourne and assists the Museum to continue to document this rich art form within both local and international contexts.

Yero (meaning 'old man') Bisbikis is a character in the centuries-old Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre (Karaghiozis) tradition. He is old and wealthy, but miserly, suspicious, and distrustful; he enjoys flattery and then he becomes 'houvarthas' and is full of self-praise. He is usually used in comedies. In the comedy 'Karaghiozis the Servant', Yero Bisbikis is worried that his daughter will get involved with a gold-digger, so he invites friends and relatives who may know of nice young men of good character to send them to his house, in order to meet his daughter with the intention of marriage if there is a mutual attraction. He hires Karaghiozis as his servant to receive the prospective grooms upon their arrival and to take them to his daughter. However, the daughter rebels and bribes Karaghiozis to frighten them all off by beating up each one upon their arrival. In the end, with the help of Karaghiozis, her father is forced to allow her to marry the man she loves. Yero Bisbikis secondary puppet. The puppeteers who use him allocate to him any Christian name they wish.

The puppet is manipulated by a puppet rod [there are many examples in the collection] mounted at the top of its shoulder.

Information supplied by Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre master Dimitri Katsoulis, 2007.
Description:
A two-dimensional figure of a man, in profile, jointed at the waist. The man is white-haired and balding, with a moustache. He wears a blue suit with a striped tie.
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 68.00 cm (Height), 24.00 cm (Length)

More information

Tagged with: cultural maintenance, greek communities, greek immigration, karaghiozis theatre, shadow puppetry, theatres, working life
Themes this item is part of: Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - Dimitri Katsoulis, Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - Lighting Technology, Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre - History, Working Life & Trades Collection
Primary Classification: CULTURAL IDENTITY
Secondary Classification: Ethnicity - Creative Practice
Tertiary Classification: puppetry
Artist: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Athens, Greece, 1960-1969
User: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Athens, Greece, 1960-1977

Abraam made the puppet in Greece, and used it in performances during the 1960s and 1970s; and then in Victoria in 1977.
User: Mr Abraam Antonakos, Victoria, Australia, 1977

Abraam made the puppet in Greece, and used it in performances during the 1960s and 1970s; and then in Victoria in 1977.
User: Mr Dimitri Katsoulis, Australia, 1978-1991

Dimitri was given the puppet by Abraam in 1977 and then used it in his performances in Australia until 1991.
References: http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/#; Malkin, Michael, R. Traditional and Folk Puppets of the World, A.S. Barnes & Co., Inc., N.J., 1977; Simmen, Rene, The World of Puppets, Elsevier, Phaidon, London, 1975; Hogarth, Ann & Bussell, Jan, Fanfare for Puppets!, David & Charles Publishers Ltd, USA, 1985; Yayannos, A & Ar and Dingli, J. The World of Karaghiozis, 1976

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