2 February: Angela Findlay “The Art of Atonement: How Germany commemorates the Second World War”

How do you express national guilt and apology rather than pride and patriotism? How do you remember what you would rather forget?

The subject of Remembrance has been hugely topical in these years of World War anniversaries. With the recent protests against imperial statues, a fuller, more nuanced understanding of the past is being demanded.

In Britain, little is known about Germany’s unique process of remembrance after the Second World War. With traditional forms of memorial deemed irrelevant and inappropriate, German artists sought new ways to honour the victims of one of history’s darkest periods. The ensuing and ongoing ‘counter memorial’ movement places extraordinary art forms in key locations, encouraging visitors to take personal responsibility for keeping the memories and lessons of the past alive.

In this talk, Angela Findlay explores the challenging, moving and inspiring results of this redemptive art form.

Angela Findlay is an Anglo-German artist, lecturer and writer. She has led extensive research not only into Germany’s complex post-Second World War process of remembrance but also her own German roots as the granddaughter of a decorated Wehrmacht general.

She says: “It was my father who once summed up the common thread running through my work: ‘You make people think, and that’s so important.’

He was right. For as long as I can remember, I have been asking questions, looking beneath the surface, exploring life’s darker sides and challenging commonly held perceptions. Everything I have discovered, I now weave together through a variety of creative disciplines to produce  my art, tallks, blogs and teachings,”