Rakshita Mittal

This photo series is dedicated to the people of Lichtenberg, who have seen the neighborhood’s cultural geography change and evolve over the decades, especially through the changing political systems of Germany. To live through the DDR times to the falling of the wall and moving into a democracy through a reunification, East Germany’s history is made up of micro stories that sometimes did not find the time and the space to be shared, and remembered. When your country and the system as you know it changes overnight, what parts of it do you leave behind and what do you hold close? Is it even deemed necessary to talk about it? More importantly, how do you find and make spaces of strength and freedom around you?

As an artist seeking stories in a neighborhood like Lichtenberg with an intense socio-political history to it, my lens to understanding its present has been to dig into its complex past through conversations, sharing, and forging connections with its people, especially the ones who have grown up here since the DDR times. The wall has been down for more years than it was up for — which makes it even critical to record these stories right now, while the generations that have lived these experiences can still remember and talk about it. The non-linearity in narrative & oral history is what draws me to document the personal stories of people. History may give us a perspective, but these stories of power and perseverance is what makes the history nuanced, and make space for shared connections and tolerant dialogues.

November, 2021