With her socially critical posters, "Barbara." has become an anonymous internet star. With her first exhibition in Berlin, the street artist is appealing for more tolerance in the world.
About 100 handmade placards and billboards suddenly appeared at Boxhagener Platz in Berlin last week, produced by a mysterious street artist who simply calls herself "Barbara."
In this unspectacular way, she "opened" her first pop-up exhibition, entitled "Gluing is fun." Her posters, mainly clad with simply slogans, call attention to political and social ills in her typically humorous way.
This is how Barbara. - followed by more than 450,000 fans on Facebook and 150,000 on Instagram - achieved fame across Germany. Her messages express what many people feel.
"Peace is breaking down, maximum alarm, the rich are too rich, the poor are too poor," the artist bemoans with a white inscription on a black background, signed "Barbara."
Another placard makes a pun on the German word "Vollpfosten," which means "idiot," but includes the word for a stake or post. "There are too many brown (right-wing) 'Vollpfosten' in the country," she posted on a brown stake.
Street art phantom
Barbara. Tirelessly speaks out against xenophobia and in support of tolerance. Her art, spread through social networks, has made her a star, and yet, she prefers to remain anonymous. She only gives interviews in the form of online chats. Her face and age are unknown.
In this way, she resembles British street artist Banksy, who also became famous with his socially critical art, and who has managed to keep his identity a secret for years.
"I enjoy the freedom which only anonymity can guarantee, I want my works to be judged independently from me as a person," Barbara. wrote in a chat interview with German public broadcaster SWR.
It all started with a swastika
She started with her gluing activities already as a child. As she once recounted, her grandfather had tried to remove a swastika scribbled on a house wall while she was going on a walk with him. After he explained the significance of the symbol to her, she came back the next day to glue a poster of a laughing sun on top of it. Nowadays, she glues and posts cheer and positive messages all over Germany.