Graffiti is probably one of the world’s oldest art forms, as the markings on cave walls prove. Sure, you may argue that those carvings are far from the graffiti that we see on our streets, but we beg to differ. It’s one of the first forms of artistic expression and human creativity, a way to describe what was happening at a given time, and to leave a legacy for others to remember a specific moment.
We’re huge fans of street art. We’re fascinated by the way artists can capture such truth and beauty and lay it on the wall for others to admire. Some risk their lives to create this art form, to make a mundane grey wall stand out and become a true work of art. Wherever we go, we love to see and capture the work of local artists and learn more about their art. One of our favorite museum expositions happens to be Art from the Streets at Singapore’s ArtScience Museum. We also loved Penang and Chiang Mai, because of all the fun and interactive art on the streets. It’s one of the reasons why we were excited to discover Berlin too.
The German capital has been dubbed the “most bombed city in Europe” and even “Graffiti Mecca”. Although graffiti is illegal in Berlin, it still offers a ton of beautiful pieces to discover. This may come from its dark history, when not too long ago, the Berlin wall was used as a canvas for some remarkable pieces conveying profound messages of peace and hope. Graffiti and street art played essential roles in shaping the identity of the city. We even wonder if they played a role in Berlin being named a UNESCO City of Design in 2006. It’s probably also one of the things that draws millions of tourists to the city every year.
If you want to take in all the street art, there’s a few ways you can do it. There’s an amazing gallery called Urban Nation, that has some pieces to show, and it’s free to get in. You can also check out the free East Side Gallery, where parts of the wall have been decorated by artists. It’s the longest open air art gallery in the world at 1.3 km long. If you want more details on the pieces, there are a ton of paying street art tours you can join. Or like us, you can just walk around, search for the pieces and take it all in.
With all the stunning pieces around town, it’s easy to see why Berlin is still considered to be an important reference in street art and graffiti, not only in Europe, but all around the world as well.
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