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Peeling Back The Layers

GERMANY | Sunday, 17 August 2014 | Views [1746] | Comments [1]

Forced Positivity

How do you peel the back the layers of an ever-changing relic of history? It is impossible to know the stories behind each living mural plastered across the Berlin Wall. I fear I will fail to listen to the messages portrayed by many of the anonymous artists. Staring as though lost into the scatterings of ink and paint I instead start to focus on the meanings I interpret for myself.

The art has become the dominating feature of the East Side Gallery in the suburb of Friedrichshain. It is too easy to study the abundant graffiti without taking the time to observe what the imposing canvas actually is. The wall was a divider, designed to suppress the people’s freedom. Still fresh in the minds of all who lived through this depressing period this structure did more than divide the city - It crushed liberty. That’s what the messages are screaming out to the masses, yet still I seem to miss it.

Painted Over The Wall

As I walk along the largest remnants of the remaining erection I become lost in thought looking through the layers of graffiti. The most dominant images mean as much as the apparent careless scrawls alongside them. The depiction of a chained hand locked in a forcedly positive ‘thumbs up’ gesture relays an underlining desire to break free. Unless I take the time to step back and take in the whole scene I simply acknowledge it and move on.

It is only when I reach a four-word piece concealed amongst the multitude of art do I freeze in my tracks. Announcing to the author’s own thoughts, yet inadvertently to the passing world as well is, “Grandma I made it.” What powerful story is behind these simple words? All of a sudden the rest of the pieces make begin to make sense. Every addition and change to the surface of the Berlin Wall leads to a message hidden underneath. A lesson alludes to various interpretations in the most open of environments.

I continue to separate the layers finally starting to understand the implications of each one. I have noticed the elephant in the room.

Grandma I made It

Chained Hand Dove

Long Wall Stretch

Peach Earth



Tags: berlin, berlin wall, graffiti, street art



Brilliant message. Very easy to be overwhelmed by the Wall and miss the meaning. Love the way you stood back and wrote this.

  Helene Jermolajew Aug 17, 2014 5:01 PM

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