The SWAPO (South West Africa People’s Organisation) Liberation Movement fought for Namibia’s independence from South Africa from 1960 to 1990 and has governed the country since 1990. In a series of billboards, the artist Laura Horelli pays special attention to the period between 1980 and 1985 when the English-language journal “Namibia Today” was printed by “Druckerei Fortschritt” in Erfurt in the former GDR. Its editorial board was based in exile in Luanda in Angola.
The artist has produced 18 billboards inspired by the journal. The posters have been partly printed by “Fortschritt”’s successor, “Druckhaus Gera”. The posters each combine a front page from “Namibia Today” with collaged material about the journal’s history in the GDR. Since the journal remains largely unresearched, a number of the images are brought together associatively.
The posters are presented in Schillingstraße Underground Station on the U5 line. The line is located in former East Berlin and is currently being extended into the ‘West’. Here the artist recalls the complexity of the solidarity movements and policies in the GDR. The title “Namibia Today” also evokes further associations that recall the colonial history of German South-West Africa (1884–1915) as well as the ongoing negotiations about the
German genocide of the Herero and Nama peoples (1904–08). What is Namibia today – seen from current perspectives regarding the past?
Art in the Underground 2016/17: Mitte in der Pampa [The Middle in Nowhere]
The international call sought ideas for site-specific artworks in and around the Underground stations on the U5 line between Central Station and Cottbusser Platz on the Hellersdorf estates in the eastern outskirts. The works should deal with the aesthetic, urban and socio-political relationships between the centre and the periphery and address current urban, cultural and economic developments in Berlin, including the large infrastructural projects along the U5 line 'U5 Extension' in Berlin-Mitte and "International Garden Exhibition (IGA Berlin 2017)" in Hellersdorf. The competition's central field of action is the expansive green space at Cottbusser Platz Underground station, where a "Place Internationale" for new forms of urban negotiation will be established.