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'When Walls Talk': Brussels exhibition retraces 100 years of European history in posters

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By Meabh MacMahon and Lucy Caile
Poster by Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi for 'When walls talk'
Poster by Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi for 'When walls talk'   -   Copyright  Euronews

Getting to grips with the last 100 years of European history can be hard-going. But an exhibition is allowing viewers to take in the Old Continent's tumultuous past century through a more unusual medium: posters.

More than 100 posters are currently on display at the "When Walls Talk" exhibition at the House of European History in Brussels.

They range from World War recruitment drives to posters created to comment on everything from terror attacks to the euro and the refugee crisis.

"The poster has a very powerful voice even today, and people use them, during protests for example, in a very active and effective way," co-curator Raluca Bem Neaumu told Euronews.

"Europe is such a complicated concept. You'll see in the exhibition so many maps. We have a map with Europe as a queen in the 16th century, and with Europe as a funny hat... We tried to show the diversity of the image of this continent in the public sphere of European citizens.”

Neamu believes posters, which are meant to be ephemeral, can still send a strong message to political leaders of Europe even today. 

An important theme, she says, is of unity within the bloc's diversity and complexity: "The diversity of this continent must be taken into account in order to have common approaches.".

Romanian artist Dan Perjovschi also took part in the exhibition by adding witty, though-provoking drawings to the walls of the venue on the opening day. 

One of them read: "It started with coal and steel, it might end with oil", referring to the creation of what would eventually become the European Union and the current divergences among member states over oil supplies from Russia following Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.  

The exhibition is set to run until the end of the year.