Kat Zam launches Greek Diaspora Stories exhibition with Capers Thornbury

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By Marianna Alepidis

With tears in her eyes, content creator Kat Zam (@heykatzam) welcomes yiayia Iliani at her Greek Diaspora Stories exhibition showcased at Capers Thornbury in Victoria. 

Yiayia Iliani is one of many featured Greek immigrants in Zam’s series which hopes to preserve the wealth of stories housed in the hearts of the generation that made the sacrifice to leave their homeland for a brighter future. 

Capers Thornbury co-owner Christian Evripidou and content creator Kat Zam
Capers Thornbury co-owner Christian Evripidou and content creator Kat Zam.

Escorted by her grandchildren Iliana and Kyriakos, yiayia Iliana watches her video projected on the restaurant wall. 

Kat Zam exhibition
Watching the exhibition with a side of Greek culinary classics
Watching the exhibition with a side of Greek culinary classics

“My brother and I saw Kat’s series on TikTok, and we loved it. We knew that yiayia loves to tell stories and that she’d be a great feature, so we reached out to Kat, and she made it happen,” yiayia Iliana said.

“Yiayia Iliani is Pontian and I think that history is often forgotten or overlooked. So it’s really great that it’s getting a platform and that that side of history is being explored in more detail. It’s so interesting to learn about what everyone endured and gives us the opportunity to remember how lucky we are to be living in Australia and the sacrifices that generation made for us.” 

Zam has transformed Greek Diaspora Stories into a live exhibition nestled in Melbourne’s north-east. 

The video series loops through the various stories of immigrants and first generation Greeks, sharing memories, nostalgia and reflections of their trek over to Australia and their lives over many decades in the ‘lucky country.’ Photo stills highlight the magic of their homes that we have been invited into, with their unabashed Greek ‘philotimo.’

Kat Zam exhibition
Kat Zam exhibition

Capers Thorbury is perhaps the most fitting venue for such a showcase, with their comfy hangout sharing a similar thread with Zam’s mission.

“Kat has been a friend of everyone at our shop and we fully support her Greek Diaspora Series. It tells a very similar story to what we’re trying to tell; keeping the older generation alive and also paying respect to them, their style, food and tackiness. We love it and we appreciate it,” Capers co-owner Christian Evripidou told The Greek Herald.  

Kat Zam exhibition
Kat Zam exhibition

“We want to preserve that culture. Our shop is a reflection of our yiayia’s house in Cyprus and I’m sure if my yiayia was living in Melbourne she would also be part of Kat’s series. It’s such an easy and good pair up between the exhibition and the shop because we’re telling a very similar story and Kat’s doing amazing work.” 

Zam was overwhelmed by the turn out to the exhibition’s launch, with Thornbury locals and fans from afar coming to appreciate and reflect on their own families’ stories. 

Kat Zam exhibition
Kat Zam exhibition

“It feels really great and I’m super emotional. We’ve even had people come from Geelong. It’s really nice to share everything with everyone here and for one of the yiayiades to show up; I feel so honoured that she came and got to see herself on the screen and her photo. It was really special,” Zam said. 

Zam’s Greek Diaspora Stories exhibition will be running until August at Capers Thornbury (843 High St, Thornbury, 3071). 

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