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Back to the Berlin Wall

The painting depicts Leonid Brezhnev and Erich Honecker in a socialist fraternal kiss, reproducing a photograph taken in 1979 during the 30th anniversary celebration of the foundation of the German Democratic Republic.
"My God, Help Me to Survive This Deadly Love" or "Fraternal Kiss" graffiti painting by Dmitri Vrubel on the East side Berlin wall.

It's early morning and I am trying to get back into the swing of my normal routine. The last few months have been bouts of illness and slipping on ice, twice, hurting myself. A whirlwind trip with an art show then a week completely disconnected from the outside world on the beaches of Mexico and then the Christmas festivities has all left my routine in shambles. I am not complaining though time spent with those you love is worth more than anything in this world. So bear with me as I try to get back on track.

I had said in the last blog that I would go over my trip to Berlin and visit to the east side gallery in particular, so grab a coffee and let's get going back to the Berlin Wall.

I had a travel companion for this trip and I did not realize that they were unaware of the history in Berlin. My friend had chosen this location as one of the places they wanted to see. I assumed in picking it they would know the historical implication of it. We walked along the length of it quietly, each taking in the scenes individually. When we came to the end of the first side we grabbed a bottle of water and a snack. we sat on a bench that was overlooking the river.

two peoples feet surrounding a wall art piece
Random art while enjoying a bench by the river

We sat and discussed our views on the art and they commented on how the artwork had either a sad undertone or a sense of relief or a sense of political rebellion. I commented that one would expect that given the context.

At this point they just looked at me with a blank stare and I asked if they knew what the berlin wall was. They admitted to knowing very little of that part of history. As we strolled along the river side of the wall we discussed the history of the wall.

The Berlin Wall, was placed through the middle of the city center, between east and west Berlin starting in 1961 and reminded in place until 1989. The Wall was put in place to stop people from migrating from East Berlin to West Berlin. It also served to keep people the east government saw as "Fascists" from entering and undermining their rule.

After WWII, control of germany was divided amongst the American, British, French and the Russian governments. East Berlin, under soviet rule, was ran in a socialist republic system in a dictatorship manner of communism. The west under allies rule was ran in a democratic style with an open economic market. The wall consisted of a border strip known as the “death strip” or "The dead zone" because so many people were killed there while trying to escape into the west. In 1989, the Wall was torn down during a peaceful revolution which marked the start of the ultimate downfall of the Iron curtain and an end to the cold war.

The wall was eventually turned into what we call the east side gallery today.

Please note i am not a historian and my summary is very simplified. If I misinterpreted my understanding of what took place please feel free to comment or reach out so I can rectify it.

I ended up taking well over 500 photos while at this site so the below gallery are some that turned out decent. I tried to get pictures with the artist names or handles in them. None of this art is my own, only the photos taken of them. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did and give these talented artists a look at their other bodies of work.

The thing I enjoyed most about this site was how the message or emotion the artists were trying to convey rang clear. Even without context the feel of them expressed what they wanted to say. They came across as authentic and beautifully executed.

One of the things I didn't like was the needless graffiti. I am a proponent of free expression and do enjoy graffiti art but the tags on some of these pieces come across as vandalism to me than an expression or commentary.

I was grateful to be able to visit some of Berlin's many galleries and museums on this visit. My first visit was very historical based and my travel companions had no want to go to any of the 200 plus art galleries that the city holds. I had only succeeded in dragging them into one small exhibit of a Salvidor Dali exhibition and only because it was close to the Canadian Embassy.

This trip we wondered into a lovely nook we thought was a cinema. As we strolled down the alleyway it opened up into a courtyard. There was a cinema but along with that there was also an artist designed bar and artist studios.

On the wall I spotted a sign reading "Many Tentacles Studio" ( ) So, I had to go up. I loved the collections of so many different types of art there and multiple artists. I ended up buying a book of poetry with an accompanying streamed soundtrack by Moriava ( , A press printed bag i now use as my day bag when travelling and a press printed notebook. In this same complex i picked up a press print and another book of satirical comics. There were signs asking not to take pictures so I respected that and only share pictures of what I bought.

In a few day I fly off again back to Florence, Italy to complete a certification in watercolor at my school. As chances have it a friend of mine will be in Greece shortly after that so i will meet them in Athens to explore for a few days.

As always feel free to ask any questions or share your own experiences at this location.


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