Last Saturday, the inauguration of the “Hidden Hellenism of Footscray” mural on Yewers Street in Footscray was celebrated in front of 200 local Greek Australians and others.
What began as an idea two years ago has now become a reality.
This mural was supported by funding from both the federal and state governments, and as a result, the collective efforts of Dean Kotsianis, Peter Giasoumis, and the GYG team have ultimately borne fruit, culminating in the completion of the “Hidden Hellenism of Footscray” mural, which now stands as a visual testament to the forgotten Greeks in the western suburbs of Melbourne.
“A lot of people wouldn’t associate Footscray with the Greek community, but to see 200 people from the local community attend, many of whom are of Greek heritage, shows that Greek culture is still alive in that area, even though it’s hidden,” said Peter Giasoumis to Neos Kosmos.
During the event at The Line, notable figures featured in the mural artwork were in attendance, including Thomas Papadopoulos and members of the Goulas family, owners of the Conway’s Fishing Trading business, who have featured in Neos Kosmos.
The event kicked off at 12:30 in the afternoon. At the same time, one of the faces depicted in the mural, Thomas Papadopoulos, delighted the audience with a bouzouki performance.
The GYG team took the stage and expressed gratitude to all the organisations and partners who played a role in bringing this artwork to life.They also reflected on the stories behind the Pontian Community Center, Conway Fishing Trading, Olympic Doughnuts, and Marathon Foods.
On a long table lay photographs of the mural’s “key protagonists” and an array of brochures detailing the mural’s design and developmental timeline.
Amidst the collection, vital to the project’s realisation and promotion, Neos Kosmos was also included. Giasoumis was enthused by the diverse range of attendees, spanning all age groups, who came to the event.
“There was an intergenerational mix of people. Young people talking and mixing with elderly, whose stories might not have been relative to the younger ones, but to see them being interested in the elderly’s stories is something you don’t see anymore,” he said.
The mural fuses modern elements with traditional Greek imagery bathed in red and weaves a narrative of the Greek-Australian “heroes” in the local community.
It symbolises the richness and depth of Greek culture. It stands as a poignant monument, honouring individuals from our Diaspora who have passed but live on through the memories evoked by the artwork.
“It’s about cementing their legacy,” remarked Giasoumis, who, recognised that the potential for making a profound impact in the community knows no bounds.
“I couldn’t be happier. We’ve learned a lot through the process, and now it just feels like the sky is the limit.”