Dandenong's Settlers Square Overwhelmed by Drama

City of Greater Dandenong

The newest public art in Dandenong's Settlers Square foreshadows the next exhibition at Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre.

Created by Ethiopian/Norwegian artist Olana Janfa, Too Much Drama combines political statements with lightness and dry humour. Olana's unique style is inspired by traditional Ethiopian Orthodix art and the perils and irony of a contemporary immigrant life. His work raises the question – what makes us call a place home?

While the gallery exhibition does not open until July, Olana has found a street canvas in Dandenong's Settlers Square, transforming the space with a series of charismatic characters in his signature bold palate titled Harmony. Extending through the seating, electricity boxes and light pole, the artwork has re-invigorated the space, making it an active public meeting and event space for all users, creating a vibrant, attractive and safe link through this busy precinct.

The artwork explores themes of inclusivity and harmony with its use of colour, bold illustration and patterns, inviting passers-by to pause, observe and stay.

Olana uses art to connect to his culture, allowing him to communicate his ideas and experiences. Painting is how he expresses his identity, including the things he finds funny and the subject matters that are important to him.

Olana Janfa: Too Much Drama is the 2024 version of HOME, Greater Dandenong Council's longstanding program of exhibitions featuring artists from a refugee and asylum seeker background. It will be exhibited at the Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre from 2 July to 6 September.

The official opening event for Olana Janfa: Too Much Drama will take place on Saturday 29 June, from 6pm-10pm, commencing at Settlers Square before moving across to Walker Street Gallery and Arts Centre.

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