From confinement to creativity: how street artists transformed the Berlin Wall


From the skies to the streets, the beauty of art can surround us all. In this photo essay, we showcase the power of creativity and freedom of expression that characterise street art on the iconic Berlin Wall. 

PhotoSparks is a weekly feature from YourStory, with photographs that celebrate the spirit of creativity and innovation. In the earlier 225 posts, we featured an art festival, cartoon gallery. world music festivaltelecom expomillets fair, climate change expo, wildlife conference, startup festival, Diwali rangoli, and jazz festival.

One of the most iconic symbols of the Cold War is now one of the world’s longest open-air street mural walls in the world. Constructed in 1961, the Berlin Wall fell on 9th November, 1989. The graffiti and murals now constitute one of the largest ongoing pieces of art in our times.

In this photo essay, we showcase some of the works of street artists who have depicted images of hope, peace, freedom and even humour on the wall. Though graffiti and street art may not be liked by all, there is a certain raw, candid and straight-from-the-heart feel to it that draws a different kind of appeal.

Walls of other kinds have existed in and between other nations; they also exist in the virtual form of ‘walled gardens’ on the Internet. Slogans such as ‘build bridges and not walls’ continue to resonate across societies, as symbols of unity or division. (See also my photo essays on street art in Montreal and Perth.)

The aptly titled East Side Gallery in Berlin consists of over a hundred paintings by urban artists from around the world, across a 1.3 km span of the wall. From cartoon heads and psychedelic art to peace symbols and the iconic East German Trabant car breaking through the wall, the art works reflect a wide range of human emotion.

The art works capture the tumultuous excitement of the times, but their meaning continues to resonate across other periods and countries too. Berlin is a vibrant city of design (and now startups), as we examine further in our next photo essay. UNESCO proclaimed Berlin the City of Design in 2006, and the city is ranked as one of the top startup hubs in Europe.

Now what have you done today to explore the beauty and power of urban art in all its forms and manifestations?

Got a creative photograph to share? Email us at!

See also the YourStory pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups,’ accessible as apps for Apple and Android devices.



Updates from around the world