In Their Own Image: Greek-Australians
From the arrival of seven Greek convicts in 1829 to the present day, Greek-Australians have played an increasingly complex and broadly significant role in the development of modern Australia. Documentary photographer Effy Alexakis and socio-cultural historian Leonard Janiszewski have been researching their history and contemporary presence since 1982 and have made many field-trips throughout both Australia and Greece, gathering a considerable array of images, interviews and documents.
This long-term project has resulted in the creation of an archive, in exhibitions, publications and documentary films, and In Their Own Image, an historical overview of almost 200 years of the history of Greek-Australians. With 194 dramatic images, this landmark publication has arisen out of a major touring exhibition of the same title curated by Alexakis and Janiszewski in partnership with the State Library of NSW – the exhibition travelled to Perth, Darwin, Adelaide, Hobart, Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane in Australia and to Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece. As such, the layout of images and text within the publication are arranged essentially according to the logic of an exhibition rather than a lineal narrative. The reader is invited to wander through the book – to ‘migrate and remigrate from one story to another at will’. However, an in-depth historical essay and brief chapter texts with their numerous images, do provide a broad encompassing structure.
What they say about the book and the café exhibition
“A remarkable photographic collection documenting almost 200 years of Greek settlement, and giving a personal insight in the historical and contemporary Greek presence and contribution to Australian life… a comprehensive, engaging and emotional journey, dealing with the phenomenon of migration, settlement and identity and featuring a diverse collection of people and stories spanning generations.”Vikki KyriakopoulosThe Age
“A pleasing feature of In Their Own Image is that in conveys the depth and complexity of the migrant experience. Many Greeks left their homeland because of war and poverty. Often children left their parents behind. Kristalla Christodoulou, from Kastellorizo, said, ‘Migration is a bad thing... those that remained, we were left on our own. My babies left... but what could you do?... It was a catastrophe for us’.”James Vassilopoulos
"Wonderful! Very moving - and real connection between photographs and text. Whole human lives framed and captured...brought back memories for me of Kythera, the haunting beauty, the sadness of the rocks and stones, part of which went into my novel Messages From Chaos. Congratulations!"Susan Johnson, NSW
"This incredible exhibition must tour Greece! It is important for all Greeks to understand the hardships, disappointments and successes of a major part of the Greek Diaspora, and in doing so understand the global diversity yet underlying cultural unity of Hellenism! Congratulations on a magnificent undertaking. You are doing Greece and Greek-Australians proud!"Betty G. Leremiadis(Committee of the Australian-Greek Association of Northern Greece), Thessaloniki
"A very poignant exhibition. Some very clear images of the lives people have lived which are captured in their faces. There are some I won't forget: Ilias Fountis and his wife Anna, Nicholas Pappas, Ekaterina Karvouni, Cassie Kostopolous; just to name a few which held my attention. I got a shock of the hardship many people still living or having returned to Greece experienced. The photos are full of conflict. I was also impressed by the funeral photo and the depiction of the ghost towns. I was impressed with the whole collection and hope to return to see it many times. Please excuse the length of this comment, but I received much from viewing this collection - many memories returned."Corola Berger, SA