Though it’s now a global phenomenon, the word ”graffiti” originates from the Greek “to write.” Hence the practice has always existed in the city of Athens over its 3,400 year history as ancient Greek painters expressed themselves on public walls. The political crisis of 2012 prompted many political stencils to crop up on walls across the city. In 2017 street art took on a more creative form. More murals and community funded projects cropped up, one such project is the Korydallos Lake Park Walls, one of the largest public mural projects every undertaken let alone in Athens, but the country.
Korydallos, a suburb of Athens between the city centre and Piraeus Port, is not often frequented by tourists. The women’s prison located in the heart of the neighborhood tended to deter visitors, even though the area itself is full of cafés, tavernas, and coffee shops. The prison’s position as a deterrent to growth within the neighborhood meant it’s now slated for relocation.
However, rather than demolish the building, together with the co-organization of the Municipality of Korydallos and @AwesomeAthensExperiences, the primary objective is to promote Athens and its suburbs through contemporary urban art. Korydallos will be a new, modern green park. Already, outside the prison walls, Greek and foreign artists have created a gallery of large-scale murals–a total surface area of more than 1300 square meters. Inspired by nature, the aquatic environment and art, imagination has run riot as experienced through 12 murals by 15 artists.
Some of the masterpieces include “Proud Lark” by Platonas, which depicts an elderly man writing down his wishes and dreams with larks flying around him, larks being a symbol of freedom.
Wild Drawing’s “The Illusion of Freedom” shows people riding carousel horses, the title very apt as it implies that whilst we enjoy the feeling the carousal ride gives us, we’re merely going ‘round and round and our freedom is an illusion.
Apset–from Thessaloniki, Greece’s northern ‘capital’–stands out with the more conceptual image of “Liberdreaming”. Here we see a girl dreaming, wanting to escape her own personal prison to a more carefree tomorrow.
These are just some of the murals found in this unique spot. It’s worth heading out to the Park to see for yourself how this former prison suburb has transformed the perception of the area through community support, color, and artistic talent.
Take the Athens Metro Line 3 (Blue Line) to Korydallos Metro station. It’s then a five-minute walk to Grigoriou Lampraki & Solomou streets. Check out the photo gallery below for more.