A part of the Berlin Wall
Photo: Central Intelligence Agency
By Alexys Cran, Courier Staff Writer
The murals painted on the Berlin Wall were first painted months after it came down on November 9, 1989. They are currently being recreated by the 90 original artists from around the world, so that they may bring new life to the murals. Pollution, weather, and time had eroded the images. Only five of the original group of artists refrained from the restorations and six others have died, their murals being renovated by the rest of the artists.
For many of them, this is an emotional matter as the Berlin Wall is representative for a complete loss of freedom people had at the time preceding November 9, 1989.
The East Side Gallery in Berlin's formal eastern Friedrichshain neighborhood is the eastern side of the wall that stood barren for decades, until after the wall's collapse when a group of Berlin artists decided to paint it. Thousands of tourists are attracted to the spot, many of whom take home removed pieces of rock and write their names or messages on top of the paintings.
Kani Alavi is the head of the East Side Gallery's Artist's Association and is behind the restoration of the paintings that started in October 2008. She said, “We thought it was really important to recreate the paintings because, by now, there’s a whole new generation that no longer remembers the original Berlin Wall and the historic events that led to Germany’s reunification. [At first,] we had nothing, only cheap paint and brushes, but we were so euphoric about all the historic changes and we wanted to express them in our paintings. The murals show the joy and hopefulness of overcoming in justice that people believed was possible at the time."
While the restoration of the murals may provoke a vivaciousness into the deteriorated murals to some, others believe the revitalization actually takes away the appearance of the gritty beauty and authenticity.