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Dean Kotsianis plans to turn Yarraville mural into a ‘digital archive’ of local Greek history

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It’s been almost a year in the making but a mural featuring Greek mythological gods and goddesses is finally on display at 24 Wembley Avenue in Yarraville, Melbourne.

The mastermind behind the project is Yarraville local, Dean Kotsianis. After receiving a council grant, Dean teamed up with a group of young Greek Australians from the Greek Youth Generator, as well as the Maria Stogiannis Pharmacy and street artist Resio, to make his dream a reality.

“I’ve always lived in Yarraville and my family used to own a small business and we’ve always been sort of plugged into the local Greek community. We always knew that historically there was Hellenism in the area, but I think that these days it’s a little bit forgotten,” Dean tells The Greek Herald.

The mural in progress on the side of Maria Stogiannis Pharmacy. Photos supplied.

“So the mural is important because it’s a locally driven project that is locally relevant. It shows that Yarraville does have a Greek history and we have a cool little gem in our pocket of suburbia now.”

And it’s definitely a ‘cool little gem.’ At first, people walking past are drawn to the vivid reds, greens and blues which are artistically splashed across the mural. But then their eyes are drawn to the figures of the Greek Goddess Thalia and the Greek Gods Dionysus and Hermes, and it becomes instantly clear that the mural has a deeper meaning.

The mural features the Greek Goddess Thalia and the Greek Gods Dionysus and Hermes. Photos supplied.

“We’ve used three figures that play on locally relevant stories relating to Yarraville’s Hellenism in the past. The first figure is the Goddess Thalia who is the goddess of theatre… and she celebrates the story of the Sun Theatre which is famous here in Yarraville, particularly when a Greek guy owned it in the 70’s,” Dean explains.

“In the middle, there’s Dionysus, the god of food and wine, and he celebrates the kafenios and tavernas that heavily populated Yarraville.

“And the last figure is Hermes, the Messenger of the Gods. The obvious link is that he represents the post office and pharmacy on which we’re painting. But he’s also the Protector of the Traveller… so he became a symbol for the migration story more broadly.”

With such strong symbolism in the mural, it’s no surprise that it’s already received raving reviews from the local community just a few weeks after it’s been on display. In fact, the feedback has been so positive that Dean says he’s hoping to collaborate with the local school to make the mural an ‘educational destination.’

“The mural is phase one of a potentially three phase project. We actually want to build a local digital archive of all the Greek history in the area, with testimonials, photos and videos, and make this all accessible through the wall via stickers and QR codes, which people can scan and engage with,” Dean says passionately.

An exciting future initiative which is sure to only add value to a mural which already captures the essence of the Greek Australian community of Yarraville perfectly.

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