Women on the Wall

by Becky Tan and Thelma Freedman (Photos)

 U.S. Consul General Dr. Inmi Patterson unveiled large portraits of women who work in and around the harbors of Hamburg and New York City. The paintings appear on the walls of the Seemannsmission (Hotel for Sailors), Große Elbstrasse 132, and, next to it, on the walls of the Haifischbar (famous Hamburg eatery) Große Elbstrasse 128.

This open-air, public community, art exhibit goes under the title “Working Women in the Harbours of New York City and Hamburg – a bridging project.” It came to life through the efforts of Brooklyn artist Janet Braun-Reinitz and Hamburg artist Hildegund Schuster. They interviewed women in both cultural capitols, women who represent an on-going trend to hire more women for a wider range of jobs in both harbors. Curator Dr. Elisabeth von Dücker emphasized that this is a good use of our tax money. I agree.

 The quite interesting results are 18 portraits on display in Hamburg and 16 in New York City. The artists worked 10 hours a day for several weeks, after planning, interviewing, and photographing for about 15 months. Braun-Reinitz said she hadn’t really seen much of Hamburg so far, except for short rides on the U-Bahn, ferry, and buses. She said, “It takes 50 times as much effort to plan a mural of this size and quality as it does to actually paint it.

 The Hamburg version is Number 15 in a series of open-air art works here. For information including location go to

 It’s definitely worth a visit, especially if you haven’t been over to Große Elbstrasse recently. The whole area, which starts at the Fischmarkt (traditional Hamburg event every Sunday morning) where St. Pauli Fischmarkt and Große Elbstrasse come together, is full of interesting restaurants and shops, small ones, as well as the famous Stilwerk. Take the 112 bus to Fischmarkt and keep walking. The street runs parallel to the Elbe River, another good spot to visit after walking, maybe shopping, and looking at paintings. And, if you’re lucky as you walk along the harbour, perhaps you’ll actually run into one of the actual women featured in the paintings.