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Athens reshapes its urban landscape with contemporary murals

Athens reshapes its urban landscape with contemporary murals

Greek street artists will modernise the walls of four schools this year

On 1 July, the Greek capital revealed that it has launched a programme to promote contemporary art in urban spaces. Although this project will last three years, this year’s theme will be “From the Roots to the Sky”. With this theme, the Municipality of Athens continues to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the country’s war of independence.

Taking this further, four contemporary murals will be painted on the walls of four schools in Athens. The first mural has now been painted by the Greek street artist Yiorgos Kez who has depicted Erotokritos and Aretousa on the wall of the 104th Elementary School of Panormos.

Yiorgos Kez’ mural is an adaption of the well-known work of the Greek painter Theophilos Hatzimihail (1870-1934). Hatzimihail’s art was inspired by the poem of Vincenzo Cornaros, illustrating the two young lovers from the poem: Erotokritos and Aretousa. Now, these characters have also been brought to life by Yiorgos Kez.   

Changing the capital’s urban landscape

The Municipality of Athens collaborated with the team UrbanAct and several street artists for the implementation of the project. While Yiorgos Kez’ work has now been completed, artists Gera, Same84, and Leonidas Giannakopoulos are yet to modernise the appearance of three more schools.

Commenting on this artistic venture, Mayor of Athens Kostas Bakoyannis explained: “Starting from the schools of the city, we wish to reshape the urban landscape with artistic interventions that will give an air of elegance and liveliness to Athens - organised with absolute respect for the public space and its aesthetics.

With the help of UrbanAct and its many experiences in street art, we create cultural conditions with substantial interaction for children and adults, shaping the cultural map with a modern visual look for the residents and our city.”

The contemporary murals will connect the past and the present as figures and stories from Greek history will be recalled in a new, modern way. In addition to strengthening this link, the programme will further act as inspiration for young people who wish to take up artistic or cultural activities. Lastly, the artworks will increase the attractiveness of the Greek capital, making it even more colourful and rich in culture.

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