In 1961, the conquering Soviet army built a concrete wall 140km long, dividing Berlin into two factions. German families were separated and hundreds of defectors were shot on sight as they tried to escape East Berlin and the communist government of the USSR.
In 1987, David Bowie traveled to the Berlin Wall for a concert attended by thousands of people on each side of the wall. This taste of Western freedoms and music sparked riots in East Berlin and an anti-Soviet sentiment began to surge. In 1988, Bruce Springsteen performed in East Berlin, further inspiring the East German people to protest their confinement.
November 9, 1989, the Berlin wall finally fell, uniting Berlin and Germany for the first time in almost 30 years.
Did art fell the wall? The German Foreign Office thinks so. When David Bowie died in 2016, they tweeted “Good-bye, David Bowie. You are now among #Heroes. Thank you for helping to bring down the #wall.”
War and oppression cannot win while artists protest. Art matters. Believe that.
And believe this also:
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
– George Santayana
View video for Berlin Antiwar Art below.