I’ve written before on this blog about when I’ve encountered sections of the Berlin Wall around the world, and I’ve sometimes gone out of my way to go and see parts of this historic structure. It’s fair to say though that I didn’t expect when walking through a shopping centre in Lewisham to see two sections there, it’s not a location that I’d have associated with the Berlin Wall.
They’re actually here because of the Migration Museum, which is also slightly oddly located in Lewisham Shopping Centre, although I understand that this is a temporary location. The museum notes:
“Between 1984 and 1989 Thierry Noir illegally painted over five kilometres of the Berlin Wall. Noir’s aim was to perpetrate an act of artistic resistance with the intent of changing the perception of the Berlin Wall, to demystify it and remove its threat by making it colourful and ridiculous. STIK continues this tradition of unofficial public art as a tool for radical social change by creating public commissions aimed at unifying and consolidating a deep sense of community. In WALL, STIK and Thierry Noir directly reconnect with the historical movement of Berlin Wall art. The act of creating a new work on surviving sections further removes the intrinsic historical connotation of the Berlin Wall as a physical and mental barrier.”
I wasn’t much interested in the recently painted section, I personally think it takes away from the brutal nature of the concrete and what it represented in the past. The austere side tells a much stronger story to me, each of these pieces of stone weighs two tonnes and was a barrier to limit hope an opportunity. It’s positive though that they’re trying to explain the wall and bring it to the attention of a new generation. And it’s probably a good idea to have bits of the Berlin Wall where people don’t expect them to be.