The Irish Embassy in Berlin Presents: “Borderlands”
A Photography Exhibition by Valentina Culley-FosterJune 13th, 2017
The Irish Embassy in Berlin has provided the Irish photographer Valentina Culley-Foster with the opportunity to display her photographic composition “Borderlands” at the Irish Embassy starting on July 6th, 2017.
Culley-Foster’s striking exhibition merges her two most closely related projects: “From the North to the Republic” and “Berlin Wall Trail: Space in the Flux”. This dually-themed composition aims to visually portray the situation undergone by those societies who lived in or near physically divided regions.
“From the North to the Republic” depicts the division undergone by the two adjacent regions of Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. Not only do these pictures represent the physical separation endured, but also the divergent customs that developed from physical separation.
Through the examination of the similarities and differences between these two societies, one can better comprehend the profound and long-lasting effect of borders on certain societal aspects such as religion and culture.
“Berlin Wall Trail: Space in Flux” represents a more extreme version of a divided city. Shocked by the faint remainders left of the Berlin Wall, Culley-Foster follows its traces and depicts its physical assimilation throughout the city of Berlin.
In the author’s own words: “The full series […] symbolizes freedom across the former borderline that divided the city of Berlin and the nation of Germany”.
Through the unification of these two very significant works of art, the Irish Embassy helps ignite dialogue and provoke critical thinking regarding the effects of segregating previously united territories. What makes this project so unique, however, is its way of utilizing two different historical examples regarding a similar experience (Irish and German life within borders) as a bridge towards mutual understanding between both countries.
The discussion of territorial segregation seems of relevance when taking into account the current political events, such as that of Brexit or of President Trump’s promise of building a wall in the border with Mexico. Therefore, the Irish Embassy’s commitment to peaceful dialogue regarding the topic of borders is an admirable effort to examine the consequences of segregation.