Where is it from?

Association locations map

Poster - Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre, Uncle Yiorgos, 1920s-1950s Document Reg. No: SH 940809

Alternative Name(s): bill poster

This is a copy of a poster used between the 1920s-1950s to advertise a performance in Athens of the centuries-old Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre (Karaghiozis) tradition. Dimitri Katsoulis brought them from Greece in the early 1990s; the originals are held in a museum collection in Greece. 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.

The Greek Shadow puppeteers had this type of advertising poster as part of their puppeteering kit when they were doing tours in various parts of Greece. It is a work of the puppeteer and artist S. Kouzarou. It is a snapshot of a dance pose from the Introduction of a Karaghiozis play, featuring Greek Shadow puppet Uncle Yiorgos.

Information supplied by Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre master Dimitri Katsoulis, 2007.
Small poster in portrait format, featuring an animated Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre charactersin brown colour tones: Uncle Yiorgos. He is walking left and holds a walking stick. At the top left hand corner is text in Greek [see inscrioptions for translation].
Statement Of Significance:
This collection of puppets, props, stage sets, and technical tools and equipment relating to traditional Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre is unique in Australia and rare in international public collections. The history of Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre, its puppet characters and the methodology of its performance has been recorded in partnership with the puppet master to whom the collection belonged. The collection is highly significant both as documentation of an important cross-cultural, centuries-old art form, and as an example of the transnational migration of cultural activity between Greece and Australia. It is a collection which was created and performed in Greece and Australia from the mid to late twentieth century, by two puppet masters, who transported the tradition between two countries. Abraam Antonakos came to Australia in 1977 to perform the puppet theatre and then deposited the puppets with Dimitri Katsoulis, who had migrated to Australia in 1974. Dimitri's story becomes one of migration experience, cultural maintenance and adaptation, and finally return migration and the discontinuance of this cultural art form in Australia.
Acquisition Information:
Donation from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) Coburg Campus, 1994
Discipline: History
Dimensions: 300 mm (Height), 230 mm (Width)

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
Inscriptions: Translation of handwritten text on poster:
'Barbayiorgos (Old Uncle Yiorgos) (skin/leather, Kouzarou).
[reverse side notes by Dimitri Katsoulis to the Museum]
'This puppet [image] should not be lost as I do not have another. I am sending it to you so you can use it for advertising/promotional purposes, and to make a copy on paper and to draw a copy in a larger size.'
Artist: Mr S Kouzarou, Greece, 1920s-1950s
Past Owner: Mr Dimitri Katsoulis, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, early 1990s
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

Add your comment

  • Museum Victoria does not provide valuations, for more information please visit the valuation infosheet
  • Please note that Museum Victoria staff will not normally respond to comments posted on our website.
Yes No