new art on old walls

Street art is a discipline set in public space whose borders to graffiti are often blurry. The latter is most of the time much appreciated by the young audience but has repeatedly been object of controversial debates, foremost because the creators stay anonymous and do not have permission. Graffitis have a long tradition in Berlin. The most popular were to be found on the Berlin Wall.

Gigantic images – up to 18 meters high! They cannot be missed. Not only because of their size, but also because they are part of a public gallery. It’s exciting and unusual that passersby and visitors are following their development as well as they can watch them in their making.

The art project in Wedding that is supposed to make the neighbourhood much prettier and to inspire its inhabitants to continue in doing so, is everything but anonymous. The project will be supported by QM Pankstraße, among many others. It will be organised by RIOTarts – Agentur für Urbane Kunst und Förderverein kreatives Berlin e.V..

RIOTarts has chosen renowned artists from the entire world for these black and white paintings.

For this project, called Wedding Walls, national and international artists will reinvent existing walls in the neighbourhood. The organisers picked Wedding as its location for several reasons. Wedding, where by now many artists live and work and which is currently breaking forth to become one of the most innovative neighbourhoods in Berlin, shall become a platform for creative work. Wedding Walls is not only about improving the outer appearance of the neighbourhood but shall also increase the acceptance of urban art. It further aims to involve the inhabitants directly in the making of their living environment. The artists want to work with these inhabitants and their neighbourhood to find matching themes for their works.

What do the people who live here think of these colourful walls?

Selma remembers when Wedding Walls took place at Gerichtstraße: ‘The kids were really excited about the yellow crane that had been put up and about the artists who painted the walls!’ Three boys on the basket ball court agree that everything now looks a lot ‘cooler’. An old couple says they liked it more if the walls here were cleaner.

QM Pankstraße has been funding several actions before. Neighbourhood manger Sükran Altunkaynak says: ‘This is something that has not been seen before because these images are black and white. People here are used to colourful paintings!’

Caleb Neelon from the US has begun painting the first Wall in the end of April: a huge black hand on the walls of Stattbad across the playground at Gerichtstraße. It gained a lot of attention.The american diplomat of Berlin, Philip M. Murphy, was on site and held an opening speech. However, the greatest enthusiasm came from the kids who could watch the artists live at work every day. In his work ‘Here it is possible to do many actions’, artist Caleb engaged with the topic of lingual exchange between European and American street art.

In the following, the kids were given the opportunity to paint their own wall nearby.

Vitor Ash from Portugal, one of the pioneers of European graffiti art, came from June 7 to 12. Before, he had painted an astronaut onto a wall in Kreuzberg and is also known in Weeding. Already in 2010 he had presented his works at Stattbad. Now he is back with his huge human figures who are supposed to watch us and to observe the city together with us. The painting can be seen on the wall in Lynarstraße.


Fotos: Just (, Martin Rettschlag und andere

Videos: Tamas Haragy, Berlin-Collective

Text: Quartiersmanagement Pankstraße, Translation: Robert Hummel