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I grew up behind the wall in grey East Berlin. My early exposure to art was via school trips to view the great history paintings of the Republic, designed to indoctrinate the viewer with communist ideology. My personal art, created behind closed doors, became an escape from reality. Sometimes a westerner would smuggle in a fashion magazine and I would dream of the life contained within the pages.
For a long time I shunned my past. In recent times I have realised that I was an eyewitness to one of the most significant times in the 20th century. Embracing my history, I approach the propaganda paintings of my youth with a sceptic’s eye and an artist’s desire to embrace beauty – for the people of my youth were beautiful but were painted grey by the geographical politics of the day.
Kathrin Longhurst, 2012