WILKOMMEN is the artwork realized for Project M/9 “Colors”, curated by Justkids and StreetArtNews for URBAN NATION, during June 2016 in Berlin (D). The mural is realized with acrylic on wall. Photo coverage by Nika Kramer.

As soon as completed the artwork has been subject of numerous controversies, the local residents rioted and protested for the subject of the work requesting to remove it. The accusation was to have created a work too dark, too hopeless, too bloody (in reference to the floor), too violent (in reference to San Sebastiano wounded) and shocking for children (in reference to the main subject of the work).
On the facebook page of the committee of the inhabitants of Tegel and on numerous local newspapers and magazines the comments have been

The local tenants speak of  ‘depressive mood’ and ‘negative influence’ (…) among others, because the girl is covered with blood and stood in his own blood pool. This type of art, according to most of the inhabitants, had nothing to look for.” www.bz-berlin.de
“Residents want to collect signatures against the – in their opinion – gloomy picture of the Spanish artist Borondo” www.n-tv.de
“Simply repulsive” “Fast overpaint” Facebook page I Love Tegel

This is the text published in the following days on the official Facebook page of Borondo:

I would like to clarify somehow the questions and concerns raised around the artwork I realized in Tegel, Berlin, invited by Urban Nation.
Before approaching a surface it is important for me to try and understand the environment where my artwork will be placed, to feel the energy of the space which is welcoming me, to learn the history, the community and the ongoing problematics.I work with the space and with the specific site I’m in, and in this case I was in an area where the construction for housing complexes for refugees will take place.

To create my works I use a palette which is inspired by the colors of nature, of the surrounding and of the facade itself, theses are not bright because I don’t like to be invasive but to respectfully integrate my work in the landscape. I think that during cloudy days a bright colored palette would looks very sad (imagine a playground in a rainy day), that’s why for this intervention, considering the typical weather conditions in Berlin, I used a sort of “grey” scale. Then I added red, which is a beautiful color very important in my production, which perfectly matches with the rest of the composition.

I work in the public space and there’s always a risk hidden in the process of working outdoors, so in my opinion the artist has the responsibility to never forget that his work is going to be for everyone walking in the streets, if he wants to express himself in the public space. But in any case the artist gives his message, his aesthetic and imagery. If I would ask to the community what they would like to see on a building of the neighborhood I would probably get many requests such as “rainbow”, “cats”, “sunset”, “flowers” but in this way the facades will be almost like a TV screen, entertainment and not culture. The risk hidden in this thinking is that in a couple of years we will loose the difference between advertising and mural art. The main contradiction here is that so many people complain about a mural considered too deep or too reflective but such few people complain about huge billboard positioned in front of their door.

The artist has the responsibility to struggle every time with the facade to offer a message and open a dialogue, but this doesn’t mean that the message has to be universal, immediate or easy to get. Also the process is way more complicated than that and needs to be the result of a real and deep relation build with the community not only by the artist, but prior by the cultural players working in the area.

I want to offer poetic, not politics neither polemic messages. I desire to suggest thoughts and feelings through an image, that’s what I do.

I don’t suggest happiness with bright colors, I make art and not decoration. Unfortunately this mural hasn’t not yet been fully understood by the community which lives there. I truly hope they just need time to reflect on it and to realize that through the message in it they can get other shades of life, not only the bright, and appreciate the piece.

In any case, even if maybe not necessary, I feel that I want to explain the concept for this work – which usually I never explain – because the theme in which it has been approached is important to me.

Usually I don’t impose on anyone with the definition or meaning. The reason for this is that if I explain the work my meaning seems
to suggest that there is only one interpretation that is right and all others would be wrong. But sometimes the viewer’s interpretations are more interesting and completely different from the ones I had and I don’t want to close this discourse or exchange.

For me it is a poem composed by images and colors instead of words. I believe that in an art piece it is important to get not an immediate reaction but to promote critical thinking, a research of meanings and different levels of communication.

In this case I wanted to flow on the surface using different image and references to create a sort of big collage realized directly on the 14th floors high wall.

The wall is divided in two side with a gap of windows in the centre so I used this gap to represent a wall that creates a double dimension. On the left side there’s a figure looking through a hole, while the right side depicts St. Sebastian inspired by renaissance paintings inserted in a snow forest with a cloud accumulation on top. The “wall” represents a division, a frontier and in this case creates a distance: outside the drama and inside an empty room with a small hole from which one can see the reality. A reality that we may pretend to not see but we need to be curios – as the child depicted here – to know and understand.

The gap is contemporary Europe, which seems to keeps our children safe and far from what’s going on in countries very close to our home. Often this way creating fears and closing doors to problems that are a direct consequence of our economic politics.

It seems superficial that there should be a controversy about a wall that since it contains red as merely a color it is suggested this speaks about blood, while so many people next door are suffering a brutal reality.

Let’s open our minds and stop looking at the drama through our save screens.


WILKOMMEN for URBAN NATION Museum Project in Berlin (Germany) – May 2016
Credit photo ©Nina Kramer