The East Side Gallery, Berlin
The East Side Gallery should be on everybody's bucket list. It's a 1.7km wall, near the centre of Berlin on Mühlenstraße in Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, covered in graffiti. Whilst there is nothing out of the ordinary about graffiti covered walls in Berlin, or anywhere around the world for that matter, this wall was once part of the Berlin Wall. The images that are now painted onto the concrete are a stark reminder of how political failings, egotistical greediness and authoritative conflict can affect and ruin the lives of innocent people.
"Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable." - George Bernard Shaw
This gallery is one of the largest and longest-lasting open air galleries in the world, with over 100 artists showcasing their work. Unlike usual galleries, this one does not have a "quiet rule" or an audio tape option or any barriers or "do not touch"signs. Some of the paintings have been vandalised, although art historians and critics would argue that this is part of the art. Whilst some of the vandalism is distasteful - "Sophia woz 'ere 2k13", for instance - some of it was fitting, like the quote "when you start treating people like people, they become people."
The photographs below show my favourite paintings from the wall, which will hopefully give you an insight into what to expect at the East Side Gallery - and convince you to go there when you're next in Berlin.
Aristotle once wrote: "The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance." East Side Gallery is proof of that philosophy. There is no painting that you can walk past, if you're truly looking, and by the end of the walk our heads were filled with a cocktail of melancholic emotions. We were angry with "the man" and sad for humanity.
Turning to take one last look at the wall, I spotted this photoshoot happening in the distance. There's been a lot of scepticism over the years as to how long the East Side Gallery will remain. Although they were not adding anything to the wall itself, it was nice to see new artists create their own work around it - the millennial way.