Photo Essay: Berlin street art celebrates Marlon Brando, Little Lucy and an infamous kiss

Today’s guest post is by Maya Morgan, a traveler, filmmaker and copy editor from South Africa.

I recently visited Berlin, Germany and was astounded by the street art that seems to cover every building.

Berlin is inspiring; it’s hard not to be taken in by the pulse of this anything-goes city. There are nooks and crannies that stir your curiosity, compelling you to keeping climbing a rickety spiral staircase or walk further down a grimy alley.

Artsy? Yes. Bohemian? Definitely. Pretentious? Most certainly not. Berlin is a city that provides endless intrigue and will leave you wanting more.

Scroll down for photos of Berlin’s provocative street art.

Shackled Man

1 Shackled Man

A highlight of my time in Berlin was the Alternative Tour I went on that gave tourists a peek into the city’s sub-cultures, exploring street art, squatsand “unusual” nightclubs. This mural, a comment on the trappings of capitalism by an artist known as Blu, is located between the Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg neighbourhoods in what used to be communist East and capitalist West Germany.

Man-eating Monster

2 Man-eating Monster

This piece by Blu is near the Oberbaum Bridge which links Friedrichshain and Kreuzberg.

East Side Gallery

3 East Side Gallery

This open-air art gallery commemorates the division of post-war Germany. Artists were commissioned to work on a 1.3km remnant of the Berlin Wall, now known as the East Side Gallery. This particular mural is of the Trabant or “trabi”, a cheap car produced in East Germany (ironically called the German Democratic Republic, or GDR), which has become an enduring symbol of the communist East.

The Kiss

4 The Kiss

The most well-known image in the East Side Gallery, “The Kiss” depicts the alliance between communist Soviet Union and East Germany. Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnevand the GDR’s Erich Honeckerare seen here locked in a kiss. The text tranlslates as, “My God, help me outlive this deadly love.”

Marlon Brando and the Pink-haired Girl

5a Marlon Brando

5b Pink-haired girl

I was ambling around Hackescher Markt, passing coffee shops, clothing stores and the like. I must have walked past a filthy alley about three times before noticing it. Venturing past the entrance, a new world seemed to open up. Suddenly the walls were covered with innovative street art, and I spotted a small cinema, a bar and an avant-garde art shop. This sort of heady contrast pervades the city and is what makes Berlin so fascinating.

Little Lucy

6 Little Lucy

Little Lucy is a character seen all over Berlin. Based on a Czech cartoon, this charming lass goes about creating anarchy in the city, having a particular penchant for knocking off cats in inventive ways.

Dead Kitty

7 Dead Kitty

Little Lucy doesn’t have to appear to know she’s been at work – dead kitties are usually evidence of her mischief. (Sorry cat-lovers; I can feel you bristling out there.)

Warschauer Straße

8 Warschauer Straße

What used to be warehouses have been transformed into a labyrinth of bars and clubs – amazing street art by day and an electric atmosphere at night.

Wir Sind EinFolk (We are One People)

9 Wir Sind Ein Volk

An example of German reunification imagery, this piece is situated directly opposite the beginning of the East Side Gallery.

About the Author

Maya Morgan is from Cape Town, South Africa, and has worked as a documentary filmmaker and English teacher.

She keeps busy with yoga, Tribal Fusion belly dancing, photography and hiking when she isn’t working as a copy editor at YOU magazine, a general interest publication. She is currently saving up for the next global trot.


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