Art And Culture

Exhibit in Berlin Evokes Syrian War

‘Monument’ near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin‘Monument’ near Brandenburg Gate in Berlin

An exhibit at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate evokes the Syrian war. Back in 2015, at the height of the Syrian civil war, buses were upended to create a barricade in Aleppo against snipers. The installation art erected in Berlin, comprising three buses propped up vertically, is a reminder of the war-torn city and what befell those living there.

The surreal scene of the upended buses appeared on Friday, November 10. The installation art is devised by Syrian-German artist Manaf Halbouni, Reuters reported.

Halbouni said the exhibit, which evoked a scene from 2015, was meant to send a message of unity. It was installed a day after November 9, the anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Earlier in February, a similar exhibit in the east German city of Dresden drew protests by far-right activists when it was shown. Demonstrators said it belittled the memory of the city’s own devastating bombing during WW II.

“The Brandenburg Gate is a symbol of destruction and of the end of war. It was also a symbol of division, but then came to represent unity,” Halbouni said. The gate is an 18th century neoclassical monument, built on the order of Prussian king Frederick Wlliam II (1744-1797) after restoration of order during the early Batavian Revolution.

Thousands of jubilant Germans climbed on top of the Berlin Wall near the 18th-century gate after the wall fell in November 1989, reclaiming what was a no-man’s land during the years of division between the former Communist East Germany and West Germany.

Entitled ‘Monument,’ the red and white buses stand just one block from the Holocaust memorial, a somber reminder of the millions killed during the Nazi regime in WWII.

“This is an installation against war and against all that is going wrong in this world,” the artist said.

It is part of the Berliner Herbstsalon, or ‘Autumn Salon,’ which includes 100 cultural events organized by the Berlin-based Maxim Gorki Theater across the German capital.

Aleppo was taken over by the Syrian army in December 2016 after years of fighting with rebels and a siege that forced the rebels to retreat. ‘Monument’ is planned to stay in place for a few weeks.

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