“The need to feel secure is a basic human one and in many cases we build walls to satisfy this need, in a wide variety of forms and on both the individual and collective levels.

But in others cases walls are merely barriers, obstructions, and in many cases totally unnecessary or at least not in the interest of the whole of humankind. Eventually we then break them down, as happened with the Berlin Wall which fell in 1989. You simply cannot keep people apart forever, as history has shown us time and time again. Constructing such a wall always turns out be a futile exercise, but one in which we seem to find great pleasure. It is probably a basic human instinct to demarcate your territory, to proclaim your patch.

Many walls are invisible, like the invisible walls between citizens which led to the scaling of the visible walls of the US capitol building in Washington, DC on 6 January this year.

Other walls, like the majestic walls of cathedrals, memorial walls, the walls of sand castles, or the walls around cemeteries probably have other functions. Humans are complicated creatures.

We did our first paintings on the walls of caves during the Late Stone Age about 50 000 years ago. We have left the cave but the higher level need to express ourselves creatively remains. We still paint on walls – now on city walls – but in the majority of cases pieces of canvas, wood, paper and many other materials have become portable walls.

Rather than providing answers, the paintings hanging on the walls of the Liebrecht raise questions. The challenge and pleasure of seeking answers we leave to the viewer. That, in the end, is the true value of art.”

Avril Gardiner Curator

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