Ines Bayer, born in 1971, and Raik Hönemann, born in 1970, grew up in East Germany. A bank clerk and a carpenter, they live in Königs Wusterhausen near Berlin. In 1990 they spontaneously painted their work “Es gilt viele Mauern abzubauen” (“Many walls need tearing down”) in the East Side Gallery. It is an appeal to abandon personal prejudices.
Ines Bayer and Raik Hönemann in the interview
The Wall painting by Bayer and Hönemann bears the caption “Es gilt viele Mauern abzubauen” (“Many walls need tearing down”). It depicts fair-skinned and dark-skinned people, along with one person of Oriental appearance, cheerfully removing stones from a wall that separates them. Their exaggeratedly stereotypical portrayal perhaps seems racist. But Bayer and Hönemann chose their motif in response to the anti-East German feeling they encountered in 1990. Their intention was to challenge all personal prejudices.
Bayer was born in East Berlin in 1971; her partner Raik Hönemann was born near Rostock in 1970. They met in East Berlin, where they lived before and after the fall of the Wall. Bayer, a trained data processor, became a bank clerk after the fall of the Wall and continues to work in the same profession. Hönemann works as a carpenter. Both describe their childhood in the GDR as having been happy and carefree. They now live with their children in Königs Wusterhausen just outside Berlin.