Murals change the face of Athens

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Athens has become one of the hottest destinations for street artists as giant-sized paintings on buildings fill the city.

 

 

With awe inspiring and often complex work, the artists depict simple ideas using colour and creativity.

 

 

More and more cities around the world are turning to street art to beautify neighbourhoods, in artwork providing insight into its social, cultural, or political dynamics.

 

 

In Athens, the murals can reach up to 50 meters in length and often appear in downtown neighbourhoods, such as Exarcheia and Metaxourgeio, demanding attention from those passing by.

 

It is not just the work of random artists though. Large institutions such as the Onassis Foundation are getting involved in commissioned art that helps communities and businesses thrive by working together for a common goal.

 

Take a wander in Athens, look upwards, and let it all sink in.

1-The Onassis Foundation, in collaboration with the City of Athens, has unveiled ‘The Kiss’ painting by artist Ilias Papailiakis’ sending a note on optimism and life amidst the pandemic. The internationally acclaimed Greek artist’s work that adorns the facade of a block of flats in Metaxourgeio, and rises up to 22 metres high, seeks to offer a sensual delight amongst the city’s dense web, as well as an opportunity to rest our sight and express our feelings, the very moment we face it

2-By SimpleG, this mural ranks among the best street art in Athens. Located at 2 Megalou Alexandrou street, Metaxourgeio, it depicts a young woman reading her book. She is wearing a long skirt with her knee exposed. Also, she has a pile of books next to her and a dainty background. It comments on society’s constantly growing mania for using phones, tablets, any kind of technology actually, while at the same time, people forget to read books and educate themselves.  

3-The Last Supper is an amazing piece of work from INO. It is 90 metres long and its shows 11 figures eating money, while time hands from the bottom try to reach the table. The seat where Jesus would normally sit is empty and in the background Acropolis is visible. Just above it, there is a splash of blue, an element which is present in most of INO’s works. 

4-This one can be seen from ferry boats entering and leaving the port of Piraeus. With artists Apset & Same84, Urbanact implemented a huge mural on the surface of “Silo”, an old building at the port. The thematic of the mural concerns the re-use of the building as a museum of sea ancient antiquities.

5-Located on Benaki street in Exarcheia, this mural from iNO is based on an image of resurrection, in which God grabs a dead man’s hand and lifts him into life. The top hand saves the person from death in a metaphor with incredible power and symbolism.

6-In the area of Aghia Varvara, artist Same84 has prepared a trilogy of murals based on the ideas of Seek-Dream-Hope.

 

The first one shows NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo in a match of the Greek National Team, passionately trying to score, despite the close double marking of his opponents. He seems not to be affected and he continues with even more determination in order to achieve his goal, unaffected by the opponent.

 

 

The second mural (below) shows a little girl holding her head with her hands and smiling as she looks ahead. The background is dominated by images from Picasso’s Guernica, in contrast to the happy image of the girl. The art wants to depict that despite all the battles and difficulties encountered in our everyday life, we keep moving forward and do not stop dreaming.

The third mural (below) is of a young girl that has turned and is looking right at us as if to speak and urge us to follow her on the path of colourful dreams and hope. And here, and as a unifying element with the previous mural, there are elements of Guernica, which indicate the wars and the difficulties we all experience.

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