* Initiative to commemorate second anniversary of the blockade of Qatar
To commemorate the recent second anniversary of the blockade of Qatar, Qatar Museums has installed an original part of the Berlin Wall at Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) through an ongoing cultural collaboration with Qatar Foundation (QF).
The piece of art – gifted to Qatar in 2017 during the Qatar-Germany Year of Culture celebrations – was unveiled Wednesday at QNCC, a QF member, at a ceremony attended by Hans-Udo Muzel, German ambassador to Qatar; Ahmad Musa al-Namla, acting CEO at QM; Hisham E Nourin, executive director of Strategy, Administration and Projects at the Community Development president's office, QF; and Abdulrahman al-Ishaq, head of Public Art at QM.
Once forming part of the wall that divided East and West Germany for three decades, this gift is highly symbolic, being made at a time when a blockade has been imposed on Qatar.
“This remarkable object is both an authentic piece of history and a work of art, to showcase the strong relationship between the two nations, the State of Qatar and the Federal Republic of Germany, and the ongoing success of the cultural exchange programme of QM,” al-Namla said.
“In recognition of the power of art to unite people, today we unveil this second segment of the wall, to be added to our Public Art programme, which brings works of art outside the walls of museums and art galleries, so that QM can encourage dialogue and creativity among everyone,” he added.
Speaking at the ceremony, Nourin said: “This segment of the Berlin Wall is a perfect complement to the 150 works that comprise QF’s unique collection of art, and those that have kindly been loaned to us by QM. All of these are on public view within Education City, reflecting the central role that art holds in our community development efforts.”
“Each of the artworks displayed across Education City is designed to encourage critical thinking, be a catalyst for discovery and spark the imagination and creativity of those who view them,” Nourin noted. “They are intended to foster cross-cultural understanding and perspective, and they are a platform for social engagement and interaction. These values are intrinsic to the mission and ethos of QF, which is why we place such importance on having a public art programme that speaks to all members of Qatar’s community.”
The two panels unveiled at QNCC include an artwork by Thierry Noir, a French artist who is claimed to be the first street artist to have ever painted the Berlin Wall in 1984.
West Berlin’s side of the wall gradually filled with murals detailing the German experience, a stark contrast to the East, where citizens were forbidden from nearing the wall.
After the fall of the Berlin Wall, graffiti became a way in which artists from all around the world would express how they felt about the division of citizens.
The displayed panels measure just over 2m wide, over 3.5m high, and just over 1m thick each. The concrete is reinforced with steel bars and covered in spray painted graffiti that conveys messages of hope, freedom and change.
The Berlin Wall was constructed in 1961 to separate West Berlin and East Berlin during the Cold War, ultimately creating two separate sides - the democratic West and the communist East. The concrete wall physically and ideologically divided Berlin, standing as a symbol of oppression for almost three decades.
The border was opened on November 9, allowing free movement for German citizens from East to West Berlin.
The wall, which was both a physical barrier and an ideological divide, was finally torn down in 1989. It became the symbolic end of the Cold War, uniting Germany for the first time since 1945.
The Berlin Wall section is available for public viewing at QNCC, in QF’s Education City.