GWA St. Pauli, Initiative in Gedenken an Semra Ertan, Öffentliche Gestaltungsberatung
Semra Ertan was a Turkish-born poet, interpreter and draftsman who immigrated to Germany. She wrote over 350 poems and satires in Turkish and German. One of her best-known poems is “Mein Name ist Ausländer”, in which she draws attention to the difficult working conditions for migrant workers and the racist structures in Germany - motifs that run through her entire work. On May 24th, 1982 she burned herself in public at the intersection of Simon-von-Utrecht-Straße / Detlev-Bremer-Straße in Hamburg as a protest to draw attention to these abuses and thereby to be able to change something about them. Despite or maybe because of the topicality of the issue of racism in Germany, Semra Ertan is only known to very few people. The “Initiative in memory of Semra Ertan” has set itself the goal of commemorating her and continuing to draw attention to the problems she has identified in society. The initiative came to the public design consultancy with the request to show poems by Semra Ertan in the public space of St. Pauli in Hamburg. Since many of the walls in St. Pauli are colorfully pasted or painted, a simple billposting seemed too inconspicuous and not very meaningful. We opted for printed flags that we placed above head height at some central points in St. Pauli so that people could walk below them and read the poems at the same time. Furthermore, in the course of the project, banners for a demo and a temporary memorial as well as a provisional memorial plaque were created, which will soon be replaced by an official plaque of the city of Hamburg.