A striking mural of iconic Greek actress Melina Mercouri, famous for both her career on the big screen as well as her life of activism, has kicked off ArtWalk’s Fifth International Street Arts Festival in Patras.
The impressive graffiti piece covers the entire side of a high-rise apartment, situated prominently at the intersection of Archbishop Kirillou Street and Themistokleous Street in the city.
With cigarette in hand, Mercouri is depicted in black and white in front of an image of the Parthenon in the background. The mural is complete with references to her universally beloved film “Never on Sunday,” as well as the song “Children of Piraeus.”
A group of artists known as “Art in Progress” created the grand mural, working under the expert guidance and consul of ArtWalk’s Director Kleomeni Costopoulos.
While adding a splash of color, the Mercouri art piece also reminds viewers of her valiant efforts to encourage Great Britain to return the Parthenon Marbles when she was Greece’s Minister of Culture.
Born Maria Amalia Mercouri on October 18, 1920, Melina was the daughter of United Democratic Left party lawmaker and Minister Stamatis Mercouris.
Mercouri would go on to study acting at Greece’s National School of Dramatic Art and later receive international recognition for her starring role as Ilia in the Academy Award-nominated movie “Never on Sunday.”
Despite her passing away on March 6, 1994, Mercouri is still firmly engraved in the consciousness of millions of Greeks for her great love of her country and her many contributions to its arts and culture.
Univerally remembered as a striking woman, both on stage and in movies, Mercouri was a patriot, activist, and a politician — and perhaps one of the greatest examples in recent decades of what it means to be Greek.