Having grown up in Canada with my grandparents who were from Germany, my Oma from the West and my Opa from the East, my childhood experiences were the stories and struggles that they each had endured during the war. At that time my Oma was in her twenties. She told me the hardships her family endured, struggling to stay alive, to work together with other people as a community under an extremist dictatorship. She often said to me, “they can take away everything but they can never take away your faith, whether it be in God or just to survive another day.” Unfortunately, any war brings out the worst. The inspiring strength the people used to rebuild their nation following the war is proof that we as human beings can overcome almost anything.
I observed as a child how the division of Germany when the Wall went up affected my grandparents. My Opa’s mother and sister had survived the war, but it was next to impossible to get any information on their status and their whereabouts. My grandfather died without ever knowing where they were or that the Wall came down. The world should look upon the Wall and how it affected the people in the East and both Germanies. Seeing that nothing positive can come out of it, no one should lose his or her freedom.
At a certain point where the Wall stood, one could see on the West side a church spire, as if a constant reminder to the East that faith is important… one day this will come down. This was my earliest inspiration. It also echoed Oma’s words that having faith in something is key to surviving in this harsh reality that we live in. The environment that surrounds you also affects you in some way. Recently in Toronto, Canada where I currently live, there was a tornado that befell the city. I had never seen such skies as I did on that unusual day. At the end of the storm the sky had turned a golden yellow colour that reflected off the ground, bathing all things in golden glimmer. It was the most beautiful colour I had ever seen. It was as if at that moment you could see the hand of God in everything. That obscure act of nature kindled my artistic sense to what it must have felt to the people as they woke up to find that there was no longer a barrier between the city, nations and most of all their loved ones. The majestic golden sky represents that there is hope and in the horizon are peaceful mountains that hold the stories of the people who risked their lives with nothing left to lose. The breaking eastside’s concrete wall symbolizes the strong will of the people for change. The emerging body silhouetted by the divine flame of determination signifies the will of Mankind, that no matter the circumstance, we can all obtain the freedom that is our birthright.
Sept 15 2009