Select public comments on the exhibition

Some of the more poignant comments clearly reveal the exhibition's ability to stimulate wide responses from a diversity of individuals within both the broad Australian and international communities.


"Effy Alexakis'...series of documentary portraits of Greek subjects, either born in Greece or Australia, exploring their experiences of migration. Each photograph is succinctly captioned by Alexakis' collaborator, Leonard Janiszewski, and consistently reveals the complex realities of transmigration. There is a consistent humanity in Alexakis' photographs, coupled to outstanding craft. Her photographs are never of the subject merely placed against an appropriate background. Quality of light appears crucially important to this photographer, as is her sympathy for the body language of her subjects. There is also a little of the great Magnum photographer Constantine Manos in her capacity to embrace the Greekness of herself and her subjects. Manos struggled and ultimately succeeded in coming to terms with his ancestry in his book A Greek Portfolio. Alexakis ploughs a similar field with equal dignity."
Robert McFarlane,
Sydney Morning Herald, Photography Critic, NSW

"The photographs and interviews form a poignant account of the effects of return migration on cultural identity, and the difficult decision these people have had to face in deciding where home is. Many of the people Alexakis and Janiszewski interviewed have spent their lives searching for a 'here and there'."
Wayne Tunnicliffe
Australian Centre for Photography, NSW

"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

"Once I arrived at In Their Own Image, I drifted past a sea of Greek faces, fixed in photographs; I was moved to tears. After two hours of looking at the devastation and pleasures of migration and what it means in particular to be of Greek heritage in Australia, I was emotionally exhausted...People who came here believed in hope, to an extent that most would never understand. The exhibition is a testament to makes us look into our own and our parents faces...Having been born here and never having lived in another country, I still can't say I have found my home."
Alexandra Pitsis, Real Time, Art Critic

"It is wonderful photography. Very heart rendering. It adds a lot to the phrase "Who am I?"
A. Conway, NSW

"I cried. What has been expressed in words by these people is exactly what I feel from within. Absolutely wonderful to see it all captured so brilliantly in pictures and words."
Anastasia Potiris, SA

"This fascinating exhibition should be seen by everyone (whether Greek or not)!"
K. Dalton, WA

"With tear-filled eyes I went from photo to photo, story to story and I re-lived the migration. Thank you for that experience."
Helen Galanis, SA

"Wonderful exhibition. Moved me to tears. Thank God for the Greeks in our society. I don't think we realise the pain involved in migration."
Margaret Cloonan, WA

"I had to stop and think and reflect about Greek culture in Australia and Greece - great. This was a wonderful medium to present ideas and images about our Greekness which I was able to relate to. Well done!"
Giorgos Galanis, SA

"Bringing my mother here reduced her to tears after translating the text to your accompanying fabulous photos. Shared experiences and familiar stories. She asked only one thing of me....Please don't forget!"
Kaliopi Konas, NSW

"A simply enlightening experience. So incredibly worthy of praise. I do not know where to begin. Moved to tears by some of the people and their incredible life journeys. i never thought it would be possible, it has made my passion and respect for Greece stronger and brighter. Thank you to all those people who shared their stories and journeys with us. They awoke every sense in my body."
Emmi M. Kedakis, NSW

'Encore! Absolutely fantastic exhibition! The portrayal of the Greek contribution to our Australian society helps us all to appreciate one another - our trials and our strengths, and enables us to live in harmony.'
Al & Jasmine Antonious, NSW

"A breath of fresh air. Refreshing cultivation of transitory facts of dual cultures."
Anastasia Toumbas, WA

"Appreciated the photography in particular. It brings home the dilemmas of migration - 'missing out' in the new country and grieving for the home country."
Edith Hemriel, SA

"The photographs show the irreversible issues of migration - the loss and grief etc., how some people cope really well and how old people still retain strongly those past dreams and hopes."
Anonymous, WA

"I found I was able unable to see it all 'in one hit' because emotionally it was too overwhelming and I had to end up seeing it piecemeal, 'bit by bit'. I loved it."
Arthur Giannopoulos, SA

"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

"It's a fine line between 'being' and 'becoming'. It's sad that so often politics or religion that prevents us from living the life that we all should be entitled to. Thank you."
David Richards, SA

"Thank you, thank you, thank you wonderful people for putting us up on the wall in positive images instead of always identifying Greeks with 'Classical' images or 1821 heroes!!"
Olga Karatsinidis, SA

"A powerful visual story!"
L. Baver, Singapore

"A fantastic and deeply moving exhibition. I have often yearned for something like this. The photos are inspirational! The exhibition is a credit to all who contributed."
Elly Symons (nee Agrotis)

"Congratulations! This is my second visit...I just had to bring my Year 11 Modern Greek class to see it. Thank you for giving us all the opportunity to appreciate the contribution."
J. Giagios

"A soul-searching experience. Thank you. My father and other relatives in the prints. I love Australia and I love Greece."
Mary Livissianas, ACT

"Excellent and very moving. I think many migrants have had and are having the same experience. Very interesting to look at the three strands - those who decided to stay in Greece, those who decided to stay here, and the effects on the original islands."
Claire Souleles, WA

"Learn more about Australian history every day. Great Exhibition!"
Karen Hindmarsh, England

"EVA! What a GREAT STORY you have told! I hope it inspires further works."
Elizabeth Tsiprou, NSW

"This truly great exhibition is dispelling many myths."
Nick Andristakis, NSW

"A brilliant exhibition - has made me feel very emotional too - and has helped me identify some of the struggles my Greek-Australian parents have faced, and that I too continue to face in defining my cultural identity!"
Helen Kargelos, NSW

"My grandfather migrated from Kastellorizo in 1913, but when he died I was too young to have known his stories and their meanings. So, for me, it is interesting, poignant, to read/see expressions of experience of searching for what is Greek. Some of my identity is Greek, I suppose, but very buried. It is interesting to see an exhibition which deals with these themes."
Damian Lucas, WA

"A really nice display and a nice way to find out about the hardships and good things that go with the migrant life. I've tried it myself - to live and adjust to a European country after being born on this side of the world."
J. Neare, WA

"Splendid and timely for cultural and academic reasons."
Dr Nina Mistilis, NSW

"What a sight! I wish my father was here to see it. He died two years ago at the age of 90. He was one of the first Kazzies here in Sydney. His name was Con Elliott. Thank you for a lovely exhibition."
Irene Dimarchos, NSW

"Absolutely brilliant exhibition! The photos and corresponding notes/words/stories tell us so much about the Greek contribution to Australia. As a Skip (British-Australian background) married to a Greek-Australian it has shown me something of a heritage she and all Greek-Australians can be very proud of. Well done!"
Paul Gildin, NSW

"Brilliant. It's captured the essence of Greek migration and settlement experience in Australia."
Martina Simos, WA

"Wonderful collection of photos and images reflecting the culture, together with the many stresses that have been placed on this culture. I believe it deserves all the publicity it can get! Well done organisers! Great Vision!!!"
Jane Graynor, SA

"A wonderful exhibition. Splendidly presented. Congratulations!"
Julie Marcus, NSW

"I must say that the curators and the State Library have produced a most beautiful presentation of one of the most fascinating and wonderful cultures ever to grace the earth. It is a culture that has no equal and is beautiful in every aspect. The State Library should be proud that they have introduced such a beautiful perspective on Greek-Australians to the public, who may not have had the privilege to witness anything so wonderful again!"
C. McDermott, NSW

"Wonderful exhibition. Learnt more in this exhibition than from other sources. Helps to understand a immigrant's life."
H. & D. White, USA

"Great to see the Greek spirit overcoming adversity."
J. Dowling, NT

"Wonderful over-view of Greek life in Australia, and such a massive display of photographs - it must have taken years to collect!"
R. Collins, NT

"Great! At last a true picture of Greek migration - very moving! Hope it is permanently housed here!"
Sofia Zimopoulos, SA

"Revealing! Exposing the cross-sections of different Greek 'cultures' in Australia. Was concise and astonishing. Well done people!"
Peter Thiris, WA

"Beautiful people. God bless the Greeks, Aboriginals, all races that make this country great! Goodwill to all men and women - reconciliation towards an enlightened 2000!"
D. Jarro & M.V. Jambadgee, SA

"Was amazed at how long the Greek influence has been in Australia. What an indictment on us (that) they still feel alienated."
R. D. Johnson, WA

"I spent close to an hour looking at the photographs. Never have seen any race which has such a rich culture and social diversity. It made me think. Congratulations on changing my perceptions of such a large community!"
Hesham Rastan, SA

"So - it is acceptable for Greeks to racially vilify - 'Nicholas Pepper Taifalos' (photo and caption). As an Anglo-Saxon Australian I strongly object to his quotation being publicly exhibited."
Cynthia Lomas, WA

"Excellent photos - the feelings expressed are identical to those felt/thought by all non-Australians living here."
Barbara Quinn, WA

"It's great to see such recognition paid to the Greeks - having such a large percentage of the community. This is what Australia is about - Multiculturalism and diversity!"
Saghar Aberfeyler, SA

"Interesting to see the early Greek-Australians. Hadn't realised that so many had played a part in Australia's past - my grandfather among these."
Julie Cardiff, NT

"Poignant - the feeling of loving two countries and having to choose only one."
S. Economou, WA

"An emotional experience for an old Aussie."
Helen Smith, WA

"Excellent. Interesting isn't it? I wonder how many Anglo wog bashers can be so sure they don't contain a drop of ethnic blood."
Tony Mansfield, SA

"Australia open your eyes - we are truly diverse. Appreciate this or perish! Excellent exhibition challenging stereotypes."
John, SA

"I am not Greek but have lived on/off in Greece for 17 years. I am still adjusting to living in Australia and it is very moving to read about others, who although (they) are not in exactly the same situation, their thoughts on living in a different land (are). Thank you for this exhibition."
Melanie Lyan, WA

"Thanking those who spent many hours in researching and putting together this very wonderful exhibition. It has brought back a flood of memories for some of us and a deeper understanding for the younger ones. Well done! It has given us great pride!"
Pashalidis family, NT

"As a Greek-Australian and a keen photographer I was obviously very moved today. At first I was looking only at the photographs, trying to avoid the pain behind them. It reminded me of how many families (including mine) have suffered in order to give their children better lives. Congratulations."
Bill Farmatidis, NSW

"Thank you for helping me remember how proud I should be to be Greek-Australian."
Nicholas Angelopoulos, NSW

"Wonderful photography. Insightful script. Amazing to see my heritage back to the 1830s. A moving and sobering experience. Thank you for your efforts."
Louise Kelley, NSW

"Very moving - all as I was told by my parents. My father's last words as he lay dying was to say how terribly they were treated when they first came to these shores, and yet he came to love Australia - a true Greek and a true Australian."
Jasmine Kailis, WA

"Why is Pauline Hanson against multiculturalism?"
Alex Diamantis, SA

"Terrific exhibition! Pauline H. eat your heart out!"
John Zafer , SA

"Interesting, Greeks came (out) as early (as the) 1800s. Could be many more Australians have a Greek background. Proud to be a Greek Aussie. I was two when we left the 'Old Country'."
George Koutsamanis, SA

"Makes me understand why Asians stick together now!! Sense of identity."
Jack Mahmud, SA

"Such faces of struggle, hope and quiet faith."
Peter Paroulakis, NT

"This is a great display which shows the overt racism which was (and still is) part of this country."
A. Valuogelakis, SA


"Congratulations for your original work. Through it we learnt about the first Greeks who settled in the new Continent. Our warmest thanks. Your work is a masterpiece. Congratulations again!"
Tassos Panoyiotides & family

"Effy Alexakis, a renowned photographer, whose work has inspired so many Hellenes around the world - the work is great!"
V. Haridopolou, Thessaloniki

"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. Ieremiadis (Committee of the Australian-Greek Association of Northern Greece), Thessaloniki

"A very interesting exhibition and a strange experience being a migrant, and seeing my homeland through the eyes of others in the same situation."
Chris Rutherford (from Albury, NSW), Thessaloniki

"Congratulations. So many memories and emotions since I too left as a young child for Melbourne in 1964. I too feel I don't belong in Australia or here in Greece."
E. Tsimou, Thessaloniki

"Whoever looks at these photographs remembers their own personal story. Perhaps, it seems, that the Greeks from there (Australia) love our 'patrida' more than those who remained (in Greece)."
S. Christos, Thessaloniki

"It's amazing to realize the development of the Greek-Australians. What a interesting persistent struggle to settle down. A marvellous collection and greatly informative exhibition."
Themis, Thessaloniki

"The exhibition is an interesting look at the problems of being a Greek-Australian. Warmest congratulations!"
E. Georgantely, Thessaloniki

"Congratulations on a fine collection of photographs and very informative notes."
Tom Petsinis (from Melbourne), Thessaloniki

"Loved the exhibition, fine work, and loved it all the more because I spotted my grandfather holding my infant mother at a picnic in Perth in 1906! What an unexpected and superb surprise."
Irini Pappas (from Melbourne), Thessaloniki

Content owner: Museum Last updated: 07 Nov 2019 1:19pm

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