work > Berlin 2020-2022

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Thoughtful Contrarian
Thoughtful Contrarian
ink on paper
100cm vertical X 150cm horizontal
2020

The title comes from a label given to me by a former grad school acquaintance, responding to a comment I made on one of their Facebook postings. I suggested a different viewpoint, which they flatly rejected. For them, there could be no gray area, and the matter was closed for discussion. By labelling me a contrarian, albeit a thoughtful one, they were dubiously positioning themselves as holding the majority opinion, as if that determines what is true. My Berlin drawings are black and white, but the ideas they represent never are. On the day I began this drawing, an occupied house was being evicted by hundreds of police. Hundreds more young people converged upon the neighborhood, dressed in black and wearing masks. Some demonstrated, shouting and waving signs. Some threw rocks at the police, and a few were arrested. And, while most stood around and watched, the number of demonstrations in Berlin and all over Germany and the number of people that show up for them is remarkable. Civics education is considered crucially important in Germany, and the Federal Agency for Civic Education (FACE, German: Bundeszentrale für politische Bildung (bpb)) is tasked with promoting understanding of political issues, strengthening awareness for democracy and willingness to participate in political processes. Many Americans will tell you that when the wall came down, Germans from East Berlin ran to the West because they wanted things to be like they were in the US. But many didn’t, they wanted to fix what had been broken for so long, still believing in the ideas behind the oppressive system. The thoughtful contrarian seated in the center of the drawing has just set down her book, Christa Wolf’s Was bleibt (What Remains), and is contemplating her own disbelief.