Photo Essay: A Walk Along Berlin’s East Side Gallery

by Ekua on February 26, 2012 in captured on memory card,Germany,street art

When I found out about the East Side Gallery in Berlin, I knew that if or when I traveled to the city, it would be one of the first places I’d visit. I thought it was a unique idea to take part of such a well known former tool of oppression and let it stand as a reminder of the past while changing its meaning by turning it into a huge public art exhibit.

I later learned that the East Side Gallery became the center of a controversy during a mishandled restoration in 2009 and like many popular tourist destinations around the world, some people question its authenticity. But I feel that it’s still a worthwhile site to visit in Berlin and a good starting point for exploring Berlin’s history, street art scene, and culture.

The gallery features 105 murals by artists from around the world. It is thought to be the largest and longest running open air gallery in the world. As expected, many of the murals have themes of peace, freedom, and politics:

{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures February 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm

Wow the artwork and creativity is incredible!!!!!

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Ekua February 28, 2012 at 4:48 pm

Yeah, it was great to see it. Here in SF we have these gritty alleys full of murals that often reflect the progressive nature of the city, but there’s nothing quite as open and extensive as this!

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Dani | Globetrottergirls February 27, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Amazing pieces! Can’t wait to go back to Berlin!

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Ekua February 28, 2012 at 4:45 pm

I really enjoyed this! The weather was terrible the day I took these pictures (Broken umbrellas everywhere!), so I actually went back a couple days later to check it out again and take more time to appreciate the murals.

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Sunee March 1, 2012 at 11:18 am

There are some really powerful images there, and then there are the ones I just don’t get (like the one with the kangaroo). Beautiful colours on some of them though. Makes me wish I understood art better.

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Ekua March 1, 2012 at 2:41 pm

I did consider writing explanations for the murals I figured out, but in the end I liked it without captions. And this accurately depicts my experience as well, walking along and also wondering what some of them meant. For example, the one with stencils of Nelson Mandela and random celebrities had me guessing what the purpose of it was. I’m not sure if all the murals had a message. I figured out the story behind the one with the older men kissing later on in my trip. Here’s some info on that: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/My_God,_Help_Me_to_Survive_This_Deadly_Love. I think the kangaroo one you are referring to actually depicts a rabbit. That mural showed various “great” walls of the world. If you could see the whole thing, it would make more sense. Guess you need to make a trip to Berlin ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Sunee March 2, 2012 at 9:21 am

Oh yeah, I suppose that is a rabbit ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m still confused though, hehe. A trip to Berlin sounds like a great idea!

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hannahinhanoi March 3, 2012 at 5:45 am

Cool. I love public art, particularly seeing such a variety of it. Berlin is very near the top of my list of places I “Must Travel To In The Next Five Years.”

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