The original concept of “LEST WE FORGET” came from the 2015 exhibition of photographic portraits by Toscano of Holocaust survivors. First exhibited on the facade of the Alten Feuerwache Mannheim (the headquarters of SWK), the exhibition then traveled around the world to destinations including Kiev, Berlin, Washington, New York, and Geneva. Dividing an audience, the images were loved and loathed, as they experienced vandalism, destruction, and protection.
Creation process of the mural “LEST WE FORGET” by AKUT
AKUT’s final design depicts two people, chosen from 400 oversized photographic portraits of Holocaust survivors. The images of Bella Shirin from Kaunas, Lithuania, and Horst Sommerfeld from Gelsenkirchen, Germany, now watch over the Mannheim inner cityscape. Included are the quotes, “We have to remember the past, but we must not live in it”, and “I have always lived in fear”, which were taken from interviews held by Luigi Toscano with the two subjects in 2017 and 2015. The interviews feature in his film also titled “LEST WE FORGET”, which is still to be shown.
Luigi Toscano and Falk Lehmann alias AKUT
“LEST WE FORGET” – Closing a creative circle
AKUT’s transformation of the GBG building facade with a barrage acrylic paint, Montana GOLD cans and his customary use of the Montana TRANSPARENT color range, also depicts a man raising his clenched fist at the bottom of the picture. That man is Luigi Toscano himself, based on the self-portrait of him in front of the UN building in New York.
The symbolic creative circle closes as the location of the mural also happens to be on the reverse side of the very first SWK mural completed in 2013 (7 years prior). That mural titled “My Super Hero Power Is Forgiveness” (F6,1-5) was also created by AKUT in conjunction with fellow artist HERA, as the artist duo, HERAKUT.
“LEST WE FORGET” on the facade of (F6, 5-8) is provided with an information sign that also features a QR code that leads viewers to audio excerpts from the original interviews with Bella Shirin, and Horst Sommerfeld (who died last year).
Photography by © Alexander Krziwanie / MONTANA-CANS