Following an idea from the staff of the Kassel Regional Council, a competition was launched for a work of art in memory of the assassinated Regional President Walter Lübcke. Six artists were invited to submit designs for a work of art that would offensively formulate the encouragement and demand to stand up for values such as freedom, democracy, the rule of law and an open society. After a thorough review and discussion of the designs, the top-class jury of experts decided in late autumn 2021 to propose the design by the artist Natascha Sadr Haghighian for realisation at the Kassel Regional Council.
Her design was on show at the Kasseler Kunstverein in November 2021 together with the other competition entries. The starting point is the artist’s observation that she cannot say Walter without saying Halit. Following the anti-racist motto “say their names”, the design connects the names of two victims of right-wing violence in Kassel. Halit Yozgat was murdered by the right-wing terrorist network NSU in 2006. The district president of Kassel, Dr Walter Lübcke, was murdered by a neo-Nazi in 2019.
A light sculpture with the two names “Walter” and “Halit”, visible from afar, is to be realised on the roof of the Kassel Regional Council. Like a compass, the sculpture points to the two places where Walter Lübcke and Halit Yozgat lived and where they were murdered. The installation is accompanied by a website and a podcast.
The realisation of the artwork is financed by donations collected by the Bürgerstiftung für die Stadt und Landkreis Kassel in trust for the Kasseler Kunstverein as the commissioner of the artwork. Despite the gratifyingly high level of willingness to donate on the part of Kassel citizens and businesses so far, donations of around €50,000 are still needed to reach the necessary total budget of €150,000.
The Kasseler Kunstverein has a long tradition of civic engagement on the part of its members; throughout its history, it has always assumed responsibility in the sense of a democratic urban society and has been committed to projects of political participation. That is why we would like to take a very visible stand this time as well, campaign for the realisation of this special work of art and call for donations.
Halit Yozgat and Walter Lübcke must not be forgotten.
Please donate for the realisation of the artwork.
If more money is raised than is needed for the artwork, half of it will go to the alliance “Offen für Vielfalt -geschlossen gegen Ausgrenzung” (Open for Diversity – Closed against Exclusion) and the “Mobile Counselling Team against Right-Wing Extremism and Racism -für demokratische Kultur in Hessen e.V.” (Mobile Counselling Team against Right-Wing Extremism and Racism -for Democratic Culture in Hesse), which received the Walter Lübcke Democracy Prize 2020.
Statement by Natascha Sadr Haghighian on the occasion of the jury’s decision on the tender for an artwork commemorating Walter Lübcke at the Kassel Regional Council:
“I am very happy about the jury’s decision and I am looking forward to the process of realising 86° (WALTER HALIT) on the roof of the Regierungspräsidium, accompanied by a mediation part. Since documenta 13, I have been connected to the city by a continuous engagement and, in the meantime, also by a deep friendship. I have come to know Kassel as a post-migrant, multi-layered city in which history is palpable in many ways.
Learning from Kassel means listening to the city’s fractures and continuities and addressing the urgencies that emerge from them. Right-wing structures and right-wing violence represent a frightening continuity beyond Kassel and bringing this into visibility can only be a first step.
My thoughts at this moment are above all with the families and friends of the victims of right-wing violence. In particular, I think of the Lübcke family and the Yozgat family, who had to suffer unimaginable things. My thoughts are also with Ahmed I. who is still suffering from the consequences of the racist attack he was the victim of in 2016. Walter and Halit are part of us, as are Mercedes, Kaloyan, Said Nesar, Sedat, Fatih, Vili Viorel, Hamza, Ferhat, Gökhan, Enver, Abdurrahim, Süleyman, Habil, Mehmet, Ismail, Theodoros, Mehmet, Gürsün, Hatice, Gülüstan, Hülya, Saime, Oury, Ahmad and the many others who are forever inseparable. Only when we understand this can we stop right-wing terror.
To use the words of Halit Yozgat’s father: “There must be no more Halits” and today, sadly, we must add: “there must be no more Walters”. No one must lose their father, son, daughter, partner, brother, sister, friend because right-wing structures are not clearly and decisively opposed. Let’s make sure of it!”
Natascha Sadr Haghighian
Donations can be paid into the following account:
Bürgerstiftung für die Stadt Kassel und den Landkreis KasselIBAN: DE94 5205 0353 0001 3141 51BIC: HELADEF1KASPurpose: Donation of artwork
For donations up to 300 Euros, the bank statement is sufficient as proof for the tax office. For larger donations, please state your address in the purpose of use, then you will receive a donation receipt.