*The Greek word from which ‘icon’ derives

IKONA presents a selection of works produced between 1996-2004, exploring the notion of social identity it’s connection to heritage and family history. The photographic essays Greek Easter, Station Pier and Cyprus March utilise a traditional documentary approach and are paragraphs of real life rituals that the Greek community take part in on an annual basis. IKONA portraits offers a contemporary counterpoint to these stories by portraying 7 young adults who have recently arrived in Australia.

A large portion of this work is held within the collection of the Latrobe Picture collection, State Library of Victoria

Catalogue essay by Natalie King

Touring details:
Mildura Arts Centre, 27th April – 11th June, 2006
Shepparton Art Gallery, 27th Sept – 22nd Oct, 2006
Albury Library Museum, 7th Dec – 9th Jan, 2008

Installation photographs, Manningham Gallery Melbourne, 2004

Greek Easter,

Easter is considered by many to be the most important religious festival on the Greek Orthodox calendar. It is the most sacred and celebrated of all Greek holidays. This series illustrates one day of the three-day Church service, Good Friday.

Early on Good Friday morning local women and children work together to create the most significant symbol of the Greek Easter period. This symbol is a brier, known in Greek as an Epitaphion, which is a wooden frame decorated by strings of flowers hand sewn together representing the tomb of Christ.

Over the three-day ritual the Epitaphion will be used in many of the formal services.

Station Pier

On the first Sunday of every year thousands of Greek-Australians congregate at Station Pier, Port Melbourne, the original point of arrival for many migrants coming to Australia.

This ceremony dates back centuries, they gather to commemorate the baptism of Christ. In Greek Communities around the world this tradition is referred to as Theofania, meaning “epiphany” of “the manifestation of God”.

A cross is blessed by the bishop and then thrown into the waters of Port Melbourne. White doves are released as the male swimmers, now 50 metres away in a fishing boat, race to claim the cross which will bring good health to the lucky winner.


Ikona Portraits

George Ambelas
Arrived in Melbourne 1997
Age 21

“I feel more Greek in Australia than I ever did in Greece. I am a double wog.”

These large scale portraits (100cm x 70cm) show a group of young students, recent arrivals to Australia that I met
on the Greek music scene.

The relationship of the contemporary colour portraits along side the more classic approach of the black and white series invite the viewer to question the intimacies and photographic representations of everyday life and the life cycles of the subjects.

Interviews by Dimitri Tsahuridis