I’ve never been a big fan of Germany especially after I once had a horrible German manager at work, and I didn’t fancy going to her horrible country for holiday. In the past summers, hubby and I used to go away on a short breaks with my brother and his family every year, and in 2014, it was the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. My kid nephew was studying this as part of his history lesson at school, so we thought this might be good as an educational trip for the kid. Turned out it was good for us grown ups as well.
以前工作上曾經有一位很討厭的德國籍上司，所以一直對德國沒什麼好感。 前幾年剛好是德國柏林圍牆倒下25週年，結果決定放下對德國的歧見到柏林旅遊。印像中的德國是一個很機械化有結構的國家， 到柏林後才發覺原來它也有藝術的一面。東邊畫廊是全世界最長的戶外畫廊，總長超過1.3公里。 它是在柏林牆遺址上，由20個國家超過118位畫家畫上很多壁畫。在這裏跟大家分享當天到訪東邊畫廊時，見到 非常有價值，又見證歷史的藝術品。
My Impression of Germany
My impression of Germany (apart for the bad one from my horrible German manager, yes I will keep on saying that as she pissed me off big time) has always been one of mechanical, precision and structured. I’ve never thought of it as having an arty side, until I came to East Side Gallery in Berlin.
Why the Berlin Wall?
The East Side Gallery is the longest open air gallery in the world, and is part of the Berlin Wall that was built in 1961 by the East Germans. If you didn’t pay any attention to history lessons at school, you might have forgotten why this wall existed in the first place. So here’s a crash history lesson. After the Second World War, Germany was divvied up. Soviet Union got the East part, and US,UK and France got the West part. Berlin was located in the East part but for some bizarre reason they decided to carve up Berlin into East Berlin and West Berlin as well. Initially people were free to cross the border as they wish, but over time people from the East kept on fleeing over to the West. All in all, some 2.5m East Germans, including many skilled workers, professionals and intellectuals fled to West Germany. This hit the East Germany economy quite bad, so one day, on 12th August 1961, those in charge had a brilliant idea, let’s build a wall to stop the people fleeing!! Overnight a barbed wired was erected, and eventually a 165km wall was built, cutting off East Germany from the West for 25 years. The wall eventually came down in 1989 signifying the end of a major Cold War episode and the start of German unification.
Although the Wall came down in 1989, many parts were left intact to remind people of the past and to remain as a symbol of the historical changes that Germany has gone through. The Wall isn’t that tall that you can’t escape over it, and there were a handful of people who have succeed over the years. There’s also entrance (or exit, depending on how you look at it) gates dotted around.
In 1990, a 1.3km section was made into an open art gallery, the longest in the world. 118 artist from 20 countries around the world were invited to paint murals on the east side of the wall. Many expressed their views on the fall of the wall and the future of the world. This mural is called It’s Happened in November and was painted by the local artist Kani Alavi. It depicts the day the wall came down and the East German’s rushing over to the West.
A Diagonal Solution to a Problem is by Russian artist mocking the East German authorities on how they force people to abide by their communist principles. So now we know Facebook wasn’t the first one who started off this whole 👍 trend.
Of all murals here, the most famous one must be My God, Help me to Survive this Deadly Love or sometimes known as the Fraternal Kiss. Unfortunately I don’t have a photo of the actual mural, but someone has stuck a poster of it here. This mural is inspired by the famous photo of a brotherly kiss between Brezhner, the leader of the Soviet Union and Honecker, the leader of East Germany in 1979.
And here’s a few more murals that I took while I was at the East Side Gallery.
Over the years, many of the murals have been vandalised which is a real pity. I mean, what it the problem with people? Apart from the fact that the wall itself is of significant historical value and has now been declared a historical monument, the murals represents history seen through artists’ eyes. It seems that Berlin is in a constant battle with its environment, will this ever stop?