And so today marks the twentieth year of the demolition of the Berlin Wall in Germany. To commemorate it on campus, the German arm of the Foreign Languages Department in which I work have unveiled a public art exhibition featuring texts, artworks, pictures, history, (German) music, and most notably a miniature replica of the old Wall. Constructed with wood, and strategically placed at a publicly accessible spot on campus, the “wall” already randomly graffitied stands today both as a reminder of the historic day, as well as the ingenuity of the Department of Foreign Languages, especially of Belinda Carstens – the head of the department who is also a professor of German. Along with the chance to take pictures with the “wall”, students have been encouraged to spray-paint the wall and decorate it with their own graffitis as they see fit, just like was done with the real Wall in those days by angry Berliners and rebels who wanted it torn down. Needless to say, the over twenty feet long wall is already a notable piece of attraction on campus, and will be till the end of the week.
Here are a few of the pictures I took today, along with Catherine Xavier, an Indian member of the department. The exhibition will be open every day for the rest of this week, and there will be paint brushes and paints for each visitor to use to their artistic advantage on the symbolic representation of the old wall.
But amidst my excitement to be here at this moment in time, here’s a dilemma I face: I can’t yet figure what I want to write on this wall. Prof Doug Simms of the deparment had taken his time today to draw on it a sickle and a hammer (the old symbol of communism) turned upside down, like it was on the old wall, according to him. A few of the other graffitis on this “wall” reflect each painter’s own sensibilities, and not always related to the politics of the Wall itself. So here I am, thinking (or asking YOU, as the case may be) that when I go back there tomorrow with a brush and paint in hand, what other creative texts or symbols (in any language) should I be writing on this remade wall from twenty years ago beside the obvious personal statement in my mind at this moment which simply reads, in German: “ktravula war hier“?