Mural recalls Greek history

Dean Kotsianis stands before the mural. (Joe Mastroianni) 227421_03

Goya Dmytryshchak

A giant mural celebrating Yarraville’s Greek heritage has gone up on a corner pharmacy, as part of a project collecting local stories for a digital archive.

The mural on the side of Maria’s Pharmacy and post office, at 24 Wembley Avenue, is the brainchild of local resident Dean Kotsianis and a group of young Greek-Australians who have formed not-for-profit, Greek Youth Generator.

Painted by street artist Resio, the mural features references to Greek gods Dionysus and Hermes and goddess Thalia.

“Thalia, goddess of theatre and comedy, celebrates the Greek chapter in the life of the Sun Theatre, under ownership of Peter Yiannoudes in the ’70s,” Mr Kotsianis said.

“Hermes, the messenger, celebrates language, cultural exchange, the migrant experience, and is also a direct link to the post office/pharmacy on which we painted.

“Dionysus, god of food, wine, festivity, celebrates the kafeneia and taverns that acted as the first portal of entry to our culture in Yarraville, and peppered the town centre for a long time.”

“We’ve decided to use ancient symbols that celebrate locally-relevant stories about the Greeks of Yarraville.”

The mural will bear QR codes that people can scan to hear the stories of local Greeks.

Mr Kotsianis said Greek Youth Generator now aims to tell and preserve the area’s Greek history by collecting stories from locals to add to a new digital archive.

“Yarraville and the inner west has a massive multicultural influence, historically,” he said.

“My heritage is Greek. On our local strip there are many elderly families, Greek heritage also.

“It’s just not exactly obvious when people move to Yarraville these days. It is changing quite quickly. We are also gentrifying as well.

“I wanted to bring that hidden and forgotten not-so-old story back to the surface in a more modern way.”