walter womacka

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In the shadow of Alexanderplatz’s iconic TV tower in the centre of Berlin’s old east, lies one of the largest artworks in Europe. Created by socialist realist artist Walter Womacka, the mural “Uber Leben” (Our Life), comprises of approximately 800,000 tiles ablaze in a pallet of vibrant colours, depicting different aspects of life in the GDR under the theme of education. Ideologically charged and executed in ‘Mexican Style’, the ceramic frieze wraps around the Haus des Lehrers (Teachers’ House), by architect Hermann Henselmann. Construction on the building started in 1961, and Womacka’s mural was added later in 1964. The work was recently restored after many years of neglect and taken to a special glazier’s workshop in Quedlinburg. Apparently, janitors who had been taking care of the building over the years, had been collecting fallen mosaic tiles and storing them in the cellar, helping the restoration process significantly (the conservators were able to put most the original tiles back in their right place).