A great project has just emerged from the collaboration between Urban Nation Museum and the dynamic Berlin-based street art duo Various and Gould. This new addition to the ONE WALL series has been expertly curated by Michelle C. Houston, with valuable production support from YAP. The project bears the name ‘We all belong to this community’ (Wir alle hier gehören zum Wir). At a time when xenophobia has been on the rise in many Western societies, public art has taken on a crucial role in educating and reconnecting people and communities.
What makes this project in the Berlin-Spandau district truly captivating is its engagement with local kids at a youth center through an inspiring art workshop. During this workshop, the artists introduced their mural concept and collaborated with the young participants to create captivating collages and individual portrait photos. The mural is an eclectic collage sketch that beautifully incorporates elements from the participants’ faces, effectively symbolizing a collective identity for the neighborhood.
The artists behind this remarkable piece tell us, ‘Our mural is based on a collage from our ongoing Face Time series, which we initiated back in 2015 to celebrate human diversity and question conventional beauty standards.’ Throughout the mural’s creation, the artists meticulously inscribed numerous first names on the wall, including those of workshop participants and other individuals they encountered in the neighborhood. Remarkably, the project seemed to tap into the live pulse of community sentiment as kids and adults gathered on the sidewalk below, joyfully shouting out their names to be included in the mural. A local legend named Moha even stepped in to lend a helping hand by sending lists of names up to the artists’ phones.
As Various notes, ‘When you paint a mural, it’s an exhilarating journey where every day and hour counts, and you must transform your sketch into a grand-scale masterpiece.’ It’s a process that demands intense concentration, all while under the watchful eyes of local residents. Gould adds, ‘Our playful approach might make it seem effortless, but each step of the way is filled with intensity.’ This is evident in instances such as when they found themselves stuck in a lift – and during the tumultuous, rainy hours when painting was challenging.
In essence, this mural project not only showcases the remarkable creative talents of the artists but also underscores the significance of community and diversity in the face of pressing societal issues like racism and exclusion. Their manner and message both serve as powerful reminders of the need for every member of society to feel valued and included.
Various and Gould would like to express their gratitude and extend a heartfelt shout-out to Luis Limberg for his daily production assistance and offer many thanks to their fellow artist friend, Tavar Zawacki, who joined them for a day on the cherry picker, contributing to the project’s success. Our special thanks to Sebastian Kläbsch, Luis Limberg, and @MOHA for sharing their photographs with BSA readers.