Dieter Mammel

Dieter was born in 1965. Lives and works in Berlin and Frankfurt am Main.

Since September 2015, artist Dieter Mammel paints together with refugee children in two of Berlin’s initial reception camps. He was moved to become involved not only by his encounters with the first refugees on the island of Kos in August 2015, but above all by his own family history. By recounting how his own parents and grandparents fled from the Balkans to Germany during the Second World War, he encouraged the children to tell their own stories. For Dieter Mammel as well as the children, drawing and painting offered a chance to communicate with each other intensively, even across language barriers. In this process, the children, aged five to fifteen, have created impressive personal drawings and group paintings. They recount the children’s origins in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, their journeys to Germany, and their first impressions when they arrived. From the children’s perspective, they tell of tank deployments and shelling, dangerous sea crossings in unsafe boats, heavily guarded borders and fears – yet also of friendship, their future hopes and dreams. In "Tell me where you are coming from", the documentary film by Dieter Mammel in cooperation with Matthias Grübel, the children talk about their pictures. Their drawings help them to recount their experiences, and their body language also reveals just how deeply they are affected by their memories and hopes.