First women harbour workers mural
from 1989 (vandalized)
Große Elbstraße 39
 
"Women working in the fish industry, 1994"
Große Elbstraße 152
 
"Women harvesting coffee, tabaco, and bananas"
"Wipe and swish – the cleaning ladies"
"The demonstrators"
Große Elbstraße 164
 
"The strike of the coffee bean sorters"
"Prostitutes"
Stairs adjacent to the building at Große Elbstraße 164
 
"Girls in view - their future in the harbour"
"Jumping in at the deep end"
Große Elbstraße 210-212
 
"Women metal workers and welders
in the harbour" - (picture purloined)
 
"Women in harbour logistics"
Große Elbstraße 276
 
"Women at sea – past and present"
Neumühlen 3
Pump station No. 69
 
"The Elbe and the 'work' waves"
Neumühlen 16-20
(Turnaround at the Lawaetzhaus)
 
"For the women from the Dessauer Ufer"
Neumühlen 16-20
Lawaetzhaus
 
"Women to the helm"
Neumühlen 21
 
Working Women in the harbours
of New York City and Hamburg
- - a bridging project
Große Elbstraße 132
 
Women in the fish industry
and at the fish market, 2015
Große Elbstraße 268

Working Women in the Harbours of New York City and Hamburg - a Bridging Project
Frauenarbeit im Hafen von New York und Hamburg - ein Brückenschlag

"Working Women in the Harbours of New York City and Hamburg - a Bridging Project"
Design and realization: Janet Braun-Reinitz, Hildegund Schuster,
Assistance: Ayse Kazci. 2013
Curator: E. v. D.
Große Elbstraße 132: the walls of the Seamen's Mission and the building housing the Haifischbar (Shark Bar) located at the Altona Fishmarket / Timber Port.
Westwall of the building housing the Haifischbar. Photo: Peter Breucker©

picture gallery

The 15th mural of the FrauenFreiluftGalerie Hamburg (The Women's Open Air Gallery) opens windows on the world of harbour work:
snapshots from the spring of 2013. It was created in July 2013, at the Timber Port: “Working Women in the Harbours of New York City and Hamburg – a Bridging Project” is the title of the bi-cultural project located at the northern shore of the Elbe River.

The Hamburg Culture Senator Barbara Kisseler is our patron.

It took the good part of half a year for Hildegund Schuster and Elisabeth von Dücker, directors of the only nationwide open air gallery for women's harbour work, to prepare the mural. The concept of building a bridge between the harbours of New York City and Hamburg involved winning the collaboration of the New York artist Janet Braun-Reinitz, making interviews in various harbour firms, searching and finding a wall at a perfect location, and winning over sponsors for our idea.

The painting was conceived through an artistic-documentary cooperation.

The principles are two artists and an art historian: the internationally active painter and civil rights activist Janet Braun-Reinitz from New York, the Hamburg artist and freelance employee at the Hamburg Art Museum Hildegund Schuster as well as the art historian and curator of the Open Air Gallery Dr. Elisabeth von Dücker. Dr. von Dücker developed the Bridging-Concept and carried out research in the Hamburg Harbour. Artistic assistance was provided by the Hamburg painter Ayse Kazci.

View of the east wall
Photo: Hildegund Schuster©

Back wall
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

West wall detail.
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

The art project brings into view what is going on and changing in the work at the harbour – for the most part not publicly accessible. Harbours can't operate without a female labour force. Is the myth, that harbours are primarily male domains, gradually fading?
Only hesitantly, taking a closer look, we find “glass ceilings” everywhere – a metaphor referring to the difficult access for women to higher positions. In reality, the traditional gender specific high-low job hierarchy is mostly dominant.

Nevertheless, things are stirring in the Hamburg Harbour. At the beginning of the 21st century some previously male jobs opened up for women: jobs in harbour and inland shipping, logistics, van carrier and crane operation, engineering in leading positions in state-owned or private logistics firms, dockyards, and harbour railways. Jobs in the works councils and unions also came into female hands.

West wall at ca. 12 m height
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

Female captains, supervisors, and commissioners are also active in New York's harbours. In parallel, there exist low paid and precarious jobs, and jobs for persons without papers which were always typical women's jobs such as cleaning, cooking and care work.

 

Doing research for the mural was like discovering new territory in one's own city, researching a wide spectrum of documentation and impression. Janet Braun-Reinitz did her research in the harbours of New York.

Portrait „Rossana Rosada“
with the artist Janet Braun-Reinitz
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

She realized ten portraits for the Hamburger Project: cleaning women partly employed and desiring anonymity, the tugboat captain Pamela, ship's hostess Sandra, ticket sellers working in harbour tourism, and Rossana Rosada, an icon of female occupational success.

Artist Janet Braun-Reinitz.
Photo: Elisabeth von Dücker ©

The Latino-American Rossana Rosada is to date the only female member of the executive committee of New York's harbour administration PANYNJ, the Port Authority of New York City and New Jersey. She is also the publisher of EL DIARIO, the oldest daily Spanish language newspaper in the USA.

Elisabeth von Dücker did research in the Hamburg Harbour for several months resulting in twenty five interviews and photo-series. On the basis of this research, the mural painter Hildegund Schuster developed a portrait gallery. She depicted typical harbour occupations where women were traditionally or only in recent years allowed to work, be it in the harbour medical service, in Hamburg's leading logistics firms HHLA and Eurogate, in the harbour's foodstuffs branches, or in the seamen's club Duckdalben.

 

East wall of the mural at
the Seaman's Mission
Photo: Peter Breucker©

The research also involved locating adequate walls. After several months, a beautiful location for the mural was found in Altona (at the former Timber Harbour) in the narrow Baumannstreppe passage between the listed historic German Seamen's Mission (east wall) and the building housing the well-known and beloved Haifischbar (west wall) at the addresses Große Elbstraße 132 and 128 respectively. The complete New York-Hamburg work with a total area of 300 m² can be seen on the walls standing in oppositions.

 

Empire State Building,
Harbour of New York City.
Photo: Elisabeth von Dücker©

Portraits: “Karin F., Inspector,
Rosi H., Union Secretary” and
“Elena G., Crane Driver,
Jacqueline B., Van Carrier Driver
and Employee Representative,
Heike R., Van Carrier Driver and Tallywoman”
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

35 panels of 1 x 2 m size show six harbour scenes in New York and Hamburg. For example, there is a view of the Brooklyn Bridge with flapping “Oupy” and “Equal Pay” banners. Or a Hamburger Harbour scene with a toilet facility on the quay close to the familiar container ship – not a motif of the usual sort, but one that brings the view of harbour work in perspective.

There are also the 29 portrait panels. They represent snapshots of female economic power. The 34 harbour women are presented with their first names and their occupations. The locations where they work are painted on a yellow panel to the left.

 

West wall of the building housing the Haifischbar.
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

The compositional lay-out of this public portrait gallery may at first glance remind one of motif cards loosely spread over a large area. Not oriented at right angles, they also seem to be in motion as are the undulating waves surrounding them. Dancing portraits counteract the conventional lay-out of images, distorting the perception of earlier clearly defined conditions in the world of harbour work. 

 

Scaffold and blue waves
on the west wall
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

Wave “I'm the boss here“.
Photo: Hildegund Schuster ©

Waves on the back court wall
of the Seamen's Mission:
“I kept the job in the family”,
“ no German would work on board
for such a wage”
“Oh yes, the ship balls, I always
had a ball dress within reach”
Photo: Elisabeth von Dücker ©

The compositions of both walls show wave elements in various blue colours. Some depict hand-painted quotes in German and English from interviews and discussions with the harbour women, for example, “I kept the job in the family”, “work started at 2 am”, “we need more women in powerful positions”, “kids? Kids and work never really went together.”

As in all murals of the FrauenFreiluftGalerie, text lines are an expressive as well as a content-associative element: a mixture of technical terms, from the inner and outer perceptions of the harbour women, an invitation for the public to subjectively experience their work and emotional worlds - Seamen's Sunday, being thick-skinned, marinating herrings, gesundpacken?, leisure time, homesickness …

Due to the by-laws on the preservation of historic buildings, the artists were not allowed to paint directly on the wall of the Seamen's Mission, but had to paint on Neobond plates, which put a definite strain on the limited budget of the Project.

 

Portrait “Elena - Information - Maps - Tickets.
Battery Park Kiosk, NYC” and
“Claudia W., head of a fruit packaging company”
Photo: Elisabeth von Dücker ©

In the creative conception of the mural, two “grandes dames” coming from different wall mural movements met: Janet Braun-Reinitz, inspired by the mexican Muralismo-Movement in the early decades of the 20th century, paints large striking forms with fervent colours; Hildegund Schuster, inspired by European realism of the 20th century, paints in a rich in nuances style but with a cooler “palette”. Two different personal styles in a joint mural work – a mix of styles mirroring the many shades and colours of harbour life here and there, creating excitement and maybe curiosity, scrutinizing the pictures of an open-air show and searching for their message.

 

Artists Hildegund Schuster (r)
and Janet Braun-Reinitz (m),
Curator Elisabeth von Dücker (l),
Photo: Christiane Handke-Schuller ©

The directors of the Open-Air Gallery are very pleased about the successful cooperation with Janet Braun-Reinitz.(1) She is one of the outstanding artists of the North American mural movement and is president of ARTMAKERS Inc. Her more than fifty paintings in public spaces, “community murals”, may be seen in New York and world-wide. Her credo: socially critical, participative, gender democratic. Thus there is a connection with the work and philosophy of the FrauenFreiluftGalerie Hamburg, active since 1994. During a conversation while painting here in Hamburg she said “yes, those murals are political, that´s why I am here”.

The new women's movement is active in integrating women's history into general history. Here she is being “painted” into the city history with a global reference and completely without heroins. Perhaps a picture encouraging courage?

© Elisabeth von Dücker, 2013

(1) The contact to her resulted from a recommendation by the in Hamburg living artist JOKINEN. Many thanks!

 

We would like to gratefully thank our project sponsors: Hamburg Ministry of Culture and Media, Altona Borough Council, Hamburg Foundation in Support of Science and Culture, the American Consulate Hamburg, SAGA, ITF International Transport Workers’ Federation, German Seamen's Mission Hamburg-Altona, Aurubis AG, and HHLA.

Thanks to: Gil-Abegail Fortich-Taeubner for her Philippinian song “Usahay”, Katharina Moll, student trainee for painting, and to Annika Meier, both painters of the “Mädchenwandbild” from 2012.

 

Welcoming speech of the US Consul General Dr. Inmi Kim Patterson
on the occasion of the openung of the FrauenFreiluftGalerie Hamburg on 26. Juli 2013

I am very pleased to be present today at the opening of the FrauenFreiluftGalerie Hamburg. This notable event connects many interesting elements, that are important from a intellectual-cultural perspective, but also important for me personally, being a women.

This great project brings Hamburg and New York closer - two wonderful cities that have much in common. For instance, they both developed on the basis of their harbours and trade, and today belong to the liveliest cities of the world. They are both cultural capitals in which one may enjoy numerous exciting events.

This project uplifts the role of women in art as well as in the harbour and in trade. We can all agree that the horizon for women is constantly expanding and that women today have more possibilities than ever before. Be it in sports, business or politics, women play a steadily growing role in contributing ideas, imagination, and achievements. The female economic power in the harbours is no exception. Women have and had many and diverse careers in the harbour – from fish filleters or office employees, to metal workers or engineers. Women were often captains of their own ships. Without the material contributions from women in the harbours, Hamburg – and its famous harbour – would not be so successful as it is today.

We now see murals in the harbour that take up and honour the pioneer work of the ”harbour women”, wonderfully painted by Ms. Braun-Reinitz, Ms. Schuster, Ms. Kazci and other very talented artists. We were of course very pleased to support such an event.

I would like to once again thank the FrauenFreiluftGalerie and congratulate all artists for this opening. Thank you very much.

DOWNLOAD Welcoming speech

Invitation to the inauguration | Press release on the inauguration of the mural | Press release 17 July 2013 | more: see Press

Picture gallery

1. Wall views | 2. Waves and quotes | 3. Word strips | 4. Workplaces for women in the port | 5. Imprint |
6. Harbourscape | 7. Portraits | 8. Work in progress | 9. Inauguration

1. Wall views

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Scaffolding as seen from the Große Elbstraße, view of Baumanns Treppe.
Photo Philipp Lange ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

East wall of the mural at the Seamen’s Mission.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

 

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Back of the mural at the house with the Haifischbar.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

West wall of the mural (detail) at the SAGA house
with the Haifischbar - Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

West wall at the house of the Haifischbar, detail at a height of approx. 7m.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

 

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2. Waves and quotes

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Wave "25 containers per hour". - Photo Philipp Lange ©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Wave "Notice of Warning", east wall of the mural at the Seamen’s Mission. - Photo Peter Breucker©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Artist Ayse Kaczi at work. Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Wave "we need more women in powerful positions", "working here is like hitting the lottery jackpot". Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Artist Hildegund Schuster prepares the waves.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker ©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Wave "creating a good mood". Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Waves "when the sun shines, I make very good money",
"Children? Never really fitted in",
"Work begins at 2 am".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

 

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3. Word strips

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Word strips on the east wall. Photo Peter Breucker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

School girl Alaida Hobbing painting word strips.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

School girl Katharina Moll working on the word strips.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

 

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4. Workplaces for women in the port

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

School girl Annika Meier working on the workplaces board. - Photo Philipp Lange ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Workplaces board.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

 

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5. Imprint

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Imprint for the mural on the west wall: "Working Women In The Harbour...." Underneath in the wave:
"Try the port, the wages are good"
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Ayse Kaczi at work.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

 

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6. Harbourscape

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Köhlbrandbrücke bridge, port of Hamburg.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Brooklyn Bridge. Top wave:
"Company kindergartens would help"
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

MS AMADEA. Photo Peter Breucker©

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HHLA gantry crane, port of Hamburg.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

HHLA quay wall, port of Hamburg.
Photo Kristina Wedekind ©

 

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7. Portraits

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Angelika S. Admin".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Corinna D., seamen’s deacon“.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Anon, job trainee cleaner,
Staten Island Ferry"
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Christine Mc C., supervisor, N.Y.C Department of Parks".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Elena, information, maps, tickets,
Battery Park Kiosk, N.Y.C.".
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

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Portrait, "Claudia W. boss of fruit packing firm".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Elena G. gantry crane operator.
Jacqueline B. VC operator, worker’s rep.
Heike R., VC operator, tallywoman"
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Gerlinde J., engineer, head of department".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Gil-Abegail F.-T. from the Philippines. Seamen’s counsellor".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Gracinda G. de S. from Portugal. Fish worker (rolls rollmops)"
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Heidi O., cleaner, worker’s rep."
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Helgard W., barge crew".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Ilse C., inland navigation pastoral worker, volunteer".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Karin F., inspector Rosi H., union secretary".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Inge P., health inspector".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portraits "Karin R., Sigrid R., barge crew".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Lynelle, expert cleaner,
Hudson River Piers N.Y.C.".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Martina H. engineer, head of machinery and safety systems".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Katharina V., chief engineer
heavy lift & offshore".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Kerstin B., ship cashier, shop steward".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Martinique,
ticketer N.Y. water taxi".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Nina D. from Uzbekistan. Cook"
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait „Pamela H.,
Tug Boat Captain, N.Y.C.“.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Rossana Rosado,
Board of Commissioners,
Port Authority of New York / New Jersey".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Sandra S. and Rochelle S., planners / designers. Port New York".
Photo Peter Breucker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Susanne M.,
boss of fish speciality firm".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Portrait "Taisha, expert cleaner,
Hudson River Piers N.Y.C.".
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Portrait "Yangzi Z. from China, computer specialist".
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Portrait "Tawana R., ticket salesperson,
on commission, Battery Park".
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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8. Work in progress

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Janet Braun-Reinitz with the preliminary sketch
(in the garden of the Seamen’s Mission). Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Janet Braun-Reinitz.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

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Artist Hildegund Schuster
on the scaffolding.
Photo Elisabeth von Dücker©

 

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artists Hildegund Schuster (left) and Janet-Braun-Reinitz (middle), curator Elisabeth von Dücker (right).
Photo Kristina Wedekind ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Janet Braun-Reinitz.
Photo Philipp Lange ©

 

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Artist Hildegund Schuster.
Photo: Kristina Wedekind ©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artists on the scaffolding.
Photo Hildegund Schuster ©

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Artists Janet-Braun-Reinitz and
Hildegund Schuster on the scaffolding.
Photo: Kristina Wedekind© 

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Janet-Braun-Reinitz,
final touches before the inauguration.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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9. Inauguration, 26 July 2013

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Waiting for the guests.
Photo Peter Breucker©

Einweihung Brückenschlag

Here come the guests.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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Opening speech.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Consul General of the USA
Dr. Inmi Patterson.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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he three artists.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Speech by the curator Elisabeth von Dücker.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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Speech by the artist Janet Braun-Reinitz.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Speech by the artist Janet Braun-Reinitz.
Photo Gaby Brockmann©

 

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Speech by the artist Hildegund Schuster.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Seamen’s counsellor
Gil-Abegail Fortich-Taeubner
sings a love song from the Philippines
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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Guests at the inauguration.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Group picture with port women featured in the portraits.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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Guests. Photo Peter Breucker©

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Guests. Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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Guests.
Photo Peter Breucker©

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Visitor from the NDR
(broadcasting company).
Photo Peter Breucker©

FrauenFreiluftGalerie Brückenschlag

Artist Hildegund Schuster.
Photo Peter Breucker©

 

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