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Resistances: On Dealing with Racism in Bern.

The exhibition by the collective “Das Wandbild muss weg!”
photo credit: Vera Ryser
A for ape, G for goose, L for lamb – in 1949, two artists created an alphabet mural comprising 24 tiles for the Wylergut schoolhouse on behalf of the City of Bern. Among this ABC of animal and nature themes were three depictions of non-white people. On the mural, C stood for Chinese, I for the Indigenous Person of America and N for the Black person – conveying a colonial, racist view of the world.

In 2019, an anti-racist collective criticised the fact that this mural remained on display in a school without being challenged. This prompted the City of Bern to launch a competition to decide the mural’s fate – won by the association “The Mural Must Go!” following its proposal to remove the piece and transfer it to the Bernisches Historisches Museum. Removal of the mural has been the subject of divisive debate in Bern ever since.
The museum will adopt the historical mural in spring 2024, opening the way for the debate that society demands. As a guest curator, the association will be staging an accompanying exhibition to reflect the multifaceted discussions around the mural and about how to deal with it. In addition, enduring colonial patterns and structural racism will be contextualised in the present. The exhibition will give food for thought for the public discourse about how we as a society want to deal with this cultural heritage from the colonial era.
This exhibition is available in

Museum details

Helvetiaplatz 5
+41 31 350 77 11
Opening hours

46.942953, 7.449349