Under Palm Trees, a Submarine.
Art reflects transnational perspectives, new relationships and the ghosts of a place.

Artists: Rula Ali, Omar Alshaer, Shirin Ashkari, Mäki Closch, Christa Fülbier, Halim Karabibene, DIE KOMPANIE, Zoltan Kunckel, Irina Novarese, Ramin Parvin, Dachil Sado, Yaser Safi, Ozlem Sariyildiz, Uli Westphal, Bora Yedel

Curator: Kristen Cooper

08.12. – 22.12.2019 Villa Heike, Freienwalder Str.17 13055 Berlin-Hohenschönhausen
OPENING Saturday, 7.12.2019 at 4PM
WELCOME ADDRESS by Dr. Catrin Gocksch, Department Manager Art and Culture

All artists participating in the exhibition Unter Palmen ein U-Boot (Under Palm Trees, a Submarine) are part of the initiative HIER & JETZT: Connections. The initiative was launched in 2017 by artists of B.L.O. Ateliers in Berlin-Lichtenberg to offer an exchange and residency program to artists in exile. Exile has been defined by the group as the involuntary loss of one’s social context and working environment in their country of origin for an uncertain period of time. The collective collaborates and exchanges ideas on a collegial and informal basis, creating a platform for art, learning and communication. Unter Palmen ein U-Boot stems from this three-year collaboration.

The title Unter Palmen ein U-Boot refers to the history of Villa Heike*, and opens the field to an examination of contemporary forms of repression and exclusion. The exhibition presents questions about the perception of a place and its history, while also addressing our positioning as art and culture producers with regard to the promotion of an equal and enriching social context.

The independent work of each of the artists initiates from historical and formal impressions of Villa Heike and the neighboring Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial. Artists’ personal histories come to the forefront in conceptualizing a work that not only speaks to the area but to their homelands, as to raise awareness that tumultuous histories here still remain present in their countries of origin. Symbolism presents itself as a massive component to the overall expression of the exhibition; both as literal translation and through materiality. Unter Palmen ein U-Boot brings together cross- cultural voices that speak of time, individual identities, and solidarity; challenging us not to distance our perspectives but step closer toward understanding systems at work in the world today.

* Villa Heike, originally, a representative part of a machine-building factory from 1911, bordered a park where palm trees grew. The Villa was included in the territory of the Stasi prison, today the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, where windowless basement cells were referred to by prisoners as the ‘submarine’. During the GDR period, the building served as the administrative headquarters of the Ministry of State Security and later as an archive of the Nazi period.