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A new splash of colour at St John’s College in Preston

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When the Preston project team heard about a bare white wall at a local school, they sprang into action to come up with a plan to help reimagine the space.

The team brought in local artist Efrossini Chaniotis to work with students from the school to look at how they can brighten up a once-dreary wall in the student lounge.

Highlighting the importance of family, and fondly referred to as the ‘Preston Louvre’, the artwork represents a gallery wall with more than 60 3D frames of multiple sizes and shapes, filled with colourful artwork.

Efrossini Chaniotis with a St John’s College student. Photo: Supplied.

“With the Louvre wall, I wanted to create a concept and artwork that had artistic integrity with combined multi purpose for school: symbolically and as a teaching tool,” Chaniotis said to The Greek Herald.

“Believing strongly in the power of art and the image, in 10 days I created more that 70 individual artworks (emulating framed, hung paintings in a Louvre style gallery) that refected art history, Hellenism, Greek, creative learning, Orthodox faith, multiculturalism, the school’s history and environment.”

“Colourful empty frames were also included so that students artworks could be interchanged within the gallery wall throughout the year. A mirror was also added so students can see their own reflection amongst the wall of powerful images of identity and culture”

The project took around two weeks to be completed, with the entire school community adding ideas to the piece, from students and parents to teaching staff.

“My favourite painting is the peace dove. Peace is what we need in this world, we need to be kind to one another. It’s great to have this at our school,” St John’s College primary school student Georgia said.

The collage of different themes means the school can use the mural as a teaching tool during art lessons, with some picture frames left empty for art students to complete at a later date.

Efrossini Chaniotis. Photo: Supplied.

“The idea of this project is to really encapsulate who we are, here at St John’s College, but also the broader Australian community and the Greek community,” Anna Urban, Principal of St John’s College, said.

“We celebrate Greek Orthodox Easter where we celebrate faith, and our family values. This artwork is really important as it captures so many things that are important to us, it’s significant to us culturally.”

“The mural will be here for us forever to enjoy and to use in our teaching and learning, as well as in our cultural celebrations within our community.”

St John’s College students. Photo: Supplied.

Upon it’s completion, the Local Member for Northcote, Kat Theophanous, as well as VicTrack and Alliance representatives, came to observe the incredible wall of art.

The level crossing removal project team enjoyed collaborating with the school and will be sure to keep an eye on the ‘Preston Louvre’ as construction on the rail project progresses.

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