UBC Okanagan features exhibit commemorating fall of Berlin Wall

A touring photo exhibit commemorating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall will be on display at UBC Okanagan from January 19 to 23.

The exhibit, Icons of A Border Installation: Photographic Search for Traces in Today’s Berlin, was given life in 2006 by students of the University of Paderborn in Germany to capture the evolving spirit of the memory of the Berlin Wall and its present-day remnants, recognizing that for many the Berlin Wall is regarded as an icon of the Cold War, the separation of Germany, and as a symbol of personal destinies and suffering.

“The fall of the Berlin Wall marks, in a certain sense, the end of the Cold War, which impacted all of us,” says Claude Desmarais, Reichwald Professor in Germanic Studies. “It was a sudden event that eventually brought German unification and returned Germany to its position as a central European nation. This exhibit bridges history and art and gives everyone a chance – even if they have no knowledge of the event or the history of the Berlin Wall – to enjoy the art and leave the exhibit with an experience of the Berlin Wall, past and present.”

Icons of A Border Installation: Photographic Search for Traces in Today’s Berlin consists of 15 panels featuring various historical and modern-day photos, with each panel touching on a different aspect or theme of the Berlin Wall. Each attempts to make a connection between the past and present by providing artistic reflection on the changes over time, and what that change has meant in what is now, once again, Germany’s capital city.

To officially open the photo exhibit, Desmarais and colleague Martin Blum, Associate Professor of English at UBC Okanagan, will give a short introduction at a free event at 4 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 19. The photo exhibit is sponsored by the Reichwald Professorship, the Department of Critical Studies, the Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies, and the Goethe Institute. Food and refreshments will be served. Anyone wanting to attend is asked to RSVP to Claude Desmarais at claude.desmarais@ubc.ca.

The exhibit provides information in both English and German and is free and open to the public between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. in the FINA Gallery, Fine Arts/Health Building at UBC Okanagan.

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