Monday, February 11, 2013

Conical Hat

A piece of stiff brown cardboard cut in the shape of a conical hat. Holes have been drilled in the crown to form a decorative pattern. An additional strip of reinforcing cardboard has been attached to the base of the hat with one rivet at one end, two at the other. The costume hat is worn by Kolitiris, a character in the centuries-old Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre (Karaghiozis) tradition. Kolitiris wears it in the Introduction of every performance as part of his costume in order to change his appearance to make it more comical.
This costume hat 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 Antonakos 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.