Young Yarraville local Dean Kotsianis has been heavily involved in the Greek youth community for many years.
Now the Melbourne University student in collaboration with Olympia Koziaris, Stella Tzobanakis-Dos Santos has teamed up with street artist Resio, Maribyrnong City Council mayor Michael Clarke and pharmacy owner Maria Stogiannis to bring a burst of colour to Yarraville in the form of an interactive mural.
The mural will be featured on the side of the building at 24 Wembley Avenue in Yarraville where Ms Stogiannis’ pharmacy is situated.
Mr Kotsianis had the project on his mind for a couple of years and with community support, including that of the Western Suburbs Greek Elderly Citizens Club, he has been able to bring his brainchild to life.
“I am primary interested in people on the fringe of their ‘Greekness’, the ones that haven’t been able to tap into it before. The one’s that know it’s there and haven’t played with it so to speak. So my goal is to get people hands on, engaging and building this project without even needing to touch it,” he told Neos Kosmos.
Artist Resio and the team consulted the local community on how they would like to be represented, noting that “many locals made reference to ancient Greece as a way of understanding the Greek culture”.
“…We decided to use ancient symbols to celebrate more recent history. I consider myself more of a visual artist so I was mainly focused on finding good reference images that are aesthetically pleasing. Personally, beauty, elegance and poise inspire me, all of which are offered in ancient symbolisms,” he said.
The design features Muse Thalia, celebrating the Greek chapter of the Sun Theatre under the ownership of Peter Yiannoudes, ancient god Dionysus celebrating the taverns and cafes that is often the gateway for many into Greek culture for many and Hermes commemorating the post office and pharmacy space where the painting will be placed, along with a broader nod to cultural exchange and migration.
The mural will also feature QR codes and stickers that passersby can scan to listen in on the stories of local Hellenes.
Local mayor Michael Clarke is looking forward to welcoming the artwork to Yarraville honouring decades of Greek contribution in the area.
“We’re more than happy to sponsor community art, particularly art that reconciles back with our history. We acknowledge this through our famous soccer team Yarraville Glory, we have a strong history with the Greek community,” Mr Clarke said.
The project is part of a wider effort by Mr Kotsianis and a team of young Greek-Australians who have formed a group called the Greek Youth Generator (GYG) with the aim to bring “locally relevant projects to the different corners of Melbourne” celebrating Greek contributions in those areas.
The GYG team want the wider Greek community of Australia to help out with the final stages of the mural project including fundraising and sharing stories.
“My hope with that (fundraising) is that if someone donates five dollars, they feel a little more invested…I want them to know they’ve contributed something, any donation is welcome. The second part we’d like people to do for us is think of locally relevant stories that talk about the Greek presence here,” Mr Kotsianis explained.
If you would like to donate or share a story with the GYG team and be a part of the Yarraville mural, you can head to the organisation’s website by clicking here.
Everyone is welcome to also show their support by coming by and checking out the mural in progress from 18 January until 24 January.