My search for significant street art in Berlin took me to Cuvrystrasse in Kreuzberg. I was looking for a two part mural by the Italian artist Blu. One depicting an unmasking my two figures making East and West signs with their hands, the other a business man adjusting his tie with a gold chain between two rolex watches
Having seen a number of photos of the artwork I was surprised to see what I expected was an open area, to be surrounded by a set of fences, and the site full of shacks built from assortments of building materials, plastic tarps and the like.
Initially I was just going to take a couple of photos from outside and leave, however I started talking to one of the occupants who I understood came from Bulgaria. “Talk” may be an exaggeration as we had no language in common. I explained what I was doing and he offered to take me through the camp to the walls – I explained I would not take any photos of the camp or occupants.
Within the camp there were braziers cooking lunch and quite a few kids who ran to the walls with me. I took my photos, thanked the man who showed me the way with a tip, and left
Since then I’ve been reading a lot about Kreuzberg and Cuvrystrasse, trying to become more knowledgeable about its place in Berlin culture. Some of it is about freedom and the community response to gentrification. Some is about protest and violence, some about celebration.