Shruti Chamaria

Spring Meadow

Lichtenberg (formerly home to the headquarters of the Stasi police in Germany), is now popularly known as the ‘Asiatown’ of Berlin. A flourishing borough that sheds light on the complex intersections of migration, language and tourism.

Since the fall of the Berlin Wall and due to the recent emergence of refugees from various countries, several new travellers relocated into the eastern region of the city. This layering of the past and future, loss and hope forced the development of the Dong Xuan Center a multi-ethnic marketplace in the working class neighbourhood of Lichtenberg – where encounters generally transpire among a network of diverse communities such as Germans, Indians, Pakistanis, Vietnamese and Chinese.

The operation of the Center relies on informal capital start-ups, kinship management and contemporary trading routes, thus transforming and developing the industrial site into a ‘Spring Meadow’ of food provisions, wholesale clothing shops, restaurants, salons, tax agencies and other services.

As an artist from India, I was curiously drawn to the creation of as a kind of being-at-home, exploring a life between hybrid cultures, political boundaries, and personal stories. Also, my photographs capture material spaces, visitors inhabiting them as well as my own entanglement with the enclave.

August, 2022