Inside “Walls: defend, divide, and the divine.”

2 minutes read

On which side of the wall do you live? Discover the different aspects of walls and

their political, historical social and artistic impact in our societies.

Here is a look at “Walls: defend, divide, the divine”

  • Walls in human history

From Empires to our modern societies, are the walls protective or defensive? Real or imaginary?

This exhibition explores six aspects of walls: delineation, defense, deterrent, the divine, decoration, and the invisible.

Chinese Emperors started to built walls in the 7th century. In the 14th century, the Ming Dynasty developed the construction of the Great Wall. It served as a defense wall, and also as a tax revenue collection from Silk Road merchants.

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Herbert Ponting, Great Wall in China, 1907

Built in 122 BCE, the 73-mile-long Hadian’s wall marked the Northwest border of the Roman Empire.

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Roger Coulam, Hadrian’s wall in Northumberland

“For Divided in Death, [Linda Foard] Roberts photographed a graveyard bisected by a wall, dividing the enslaved buried on the left from the parishioners of the church buried on the right.”

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Linda Foard Roberts, divided in death from Lament a Song of sorrow for those not heard, May 13th, 2016, North Carolina.

Jericho was the first walled city in 8,000 BCE. As of 2018, 77 border walls are still standing.

Below is the Israel-Palestine separation wall. By installing phrases in light boxes, artist Shimon Attie is “attempting to articulate the zeitgeist, the hopes, the disappointments, the problematics of ideology are somehow present in the land but not visible.”

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Shimon Attie, A problem in logic from the series Facts from the Ground, 2014
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Ami Vitale, Indian camel contingent, 2004, border of India and Pakistan
  • Walls: from a barrier to a message board

As Ralph Waldo Emerson said: “Every wall is a gate.” Locals and artists transform what can first be seen as a barrier. Walls became a tool for art and an expression of faith, peace, and emotions.

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Karl F.Schofmann, My God, help me to survive this deadly love by artist Dmitri Vrubel, 1990, East Berlin, Germany.
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Marco Di Lauro, Balloon debate by artist Banksy, 2005, Jerusalem.
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Dan Kitwood, EU mural by artist Banksy, 2017, Dover, England.

Originally, the Western Wall was built to protect King’s Solomon’s Second Temple. Today, it’s respectively a pilgrimage and holy site for the Jews, Christians, and Muslims.

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Oded Balilty, Pope Francis at the Western Wall, May 26th, 2014, Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Highlights

Ripple effect by Ami Vitale

Photographer Ami Vitale captured two women meeting near Rajasthan Thar desert in India. This wall and its 200 steps were built around 250 CE. During the raining season, stepwells capture the water and direct it to the pool below. This engineering system is essential to survive.

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Ami Vitale, Ripple Effect, 2009, Baoli in Amer, Jaipur, India.

The Detroit’s Berlin wall by Shan Wallace

Detroit’s wall is an eight miles wall built in 1934 to segregate the black and white neighborhood for house development purposes. Today, photographer Shan Wallace captured how this barrier reinforces and unify a community. People stay together, celebrate together and the wall became an object of both history and art.

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Plan your visit

  • On view from October 30th to January 27th, 2018
  • Location: 2000 Avenue of the Stars, Los Angeles, CA 90067.
  • Admission: Free
  • Duration: I spent 2 hours to discover it.
  • Audio guide available and guided tour on Saturdays and Sundays at 3 pm.
  • Parking on site: $1.50 with validation
  • More information available at https://www.annenbergphotospace.org/

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