Renee van Bavel

THE PARLIAMENT OF TREES

Das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt (The Parliament of Trees against War and Violence) is an open-air monument against war and violence right in the middle of Berlin. Das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt was created in 1990 by nature and art activist Ben Wagin (1930-2021).

After the Berlin Wall came down, Ben Wagin created this open-air monument by placing original Berlin Wall segments and by planting trees with many politicians. These trees are surrounded by wall art, text, sculptures, memorial stones and many artistic interventions.

For Ben Wagin the Ginkgo tree was a symbol of hope and in the last 30 years Ben Wagin planted Ginkgo trees all over Europe, in Berlin, and in das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt.

Early 2020 I had the great opportunity to get to know the artist Ben Wagin and his impressive work das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt. From the moment I met Ben, I was fascinated by his approach to remembrance, the connection he made with nature and how he transformed it into art. I am grateful for the beautiful conversations we had. Unfortunately, much too little and much too short: in the summer of 2021, the artist Ben Wagin died at the age of 90.

The Berlin Wall Foundation asked me to create a memorial service for Ben Wagen at das Parlament der Baume gegen Krieg und Gewalt, it was an honor to do so. On 1 September 2021 at the “Mein Ben, Du lebst! ” ceremony we jointly commemorated and celebrated the life of this inspiring man.

Starting 2021 das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt has been under the management of the Berlin Wall Foundation. Commissioned by the Berlin Wall Foundation, I was asked to develop a concept idea for the future handling of das Parlament der Bäume gegen Krieg und Gewalt. For this, I developed a concept, in which we can bring the ideas of Ben Wagin in an accessible way for a broad and young audience into the future.