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.

Aali is a Turkish character in the centuries-old Greek Shadow Puppet Theatre (Karaghiozis) tradition. He is the Vizier (the Veziris), originally a Persian term for a high-ranking political (and sometimes religious) advisor or minister, often to a Muslim monarch such as a Sultan.The Vizier (the Veziris) is the right hand man of the Sultan, like the Prime Minister is to the President. He has political and military authority when he needs it. Unhesitating, diplomatic, oppressive and violent, a haughty person due to his position and he is egotistical. Aali makes short appearances in comedies and in heroic dramas. In the comedy 'Karaghiozis the Doctor', he demands that the Pasha [a high ranking state political advisor] finds him a doctor to cure his dying daughter. The Pasha brings him Karaghiozis who the Pasha beats until he admits that he is a doctor. Karaghiozis examines the Vizier's daughter and confirms that she is faking illness because her father will not allow her to take Officer Selim, the man she loves, as her husband. Karaghiozis calms her and with various means he convinces the Vizier (the Veziris) to accept Selim as a son-in-law rather than to lose his daughter.
Aali is a secondary puppet and puppeteers identify him by the Turkish name of their choice.

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.

Physical Description

An acrylic figure of a man, jointed at the waist. He has brown hair and moustache and wears a blue military uniform with gold braid shoulder trim. On his head he wears a red fez with a white crescent. He carries a sword in one hand.


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.

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