Elli auf dem Pferd, oil painting by Annemirl Bauer, portraying Charlie A Raya / Ellen Paschiller
Elli auf dem Pferd is an oil painting by Annemirl Bauer, early 80s, depicting me as a child. It still tells a lot about me. The title translates: Elli on the horse.
sketch: Ellen Paschiller
A sketch I did after seeing my friend Easy in a coma. This is where and when the idea for Easy Town started to emerge.
Brandenburg Gate, Alice Raya

About the author – Charlie Alice Raya

‘Hm. Tell me about yourself.’
‘No. This project is not about me.’
Surprised, Tom raised his eyebrows, and Alice Adler added impatiently: ‘You will learn enough about me if I tell you about the project. Everything else is a waste of time. Interesting but irrelevant.’

book 1, beginning, before

‘I wasn’t brought up,’ she said with a strange calmness in her voice. And then she gradually turned the following remark into something positive. ‘And it would seem that, without adult interference, kids couldn’t care less about nationalities, traditions or customs. They just love the world and more so adventures.’

book 2/1, travelling, Australia

My friend Easy was not fine. Many of us on this planet are not fine. But maybe we could be.’
Tom swallowed and looked up from his writing. But her eyes had a note of cheekiness in them. She had all these questions and saw the misery, but she wanted to do something about it, not dwell on it, her eyes told him.

book 1, beginning, before

‘Hachiro. Don’t look at me like this. I remember the Berlin Wall. From both sides. From early on in my childhood. Take this memory, I was six or seven years old, still living in East Berlin. One night, my mother took me to the Brandenburg Gate.
You couldn’t get close to the gate on the East side, maybe as close as today’s Hotel Adlon. No one else was around. It was dark and eerie and quiet.
We were just standing there, in the middle of the empty space, hand in hand, looking at the Siegessäule through the gaps in the Brandenburg Gate. And then my mother said into the silent night: “This is where we want to go.”
It was a solemn moment and a very strange one.
I remember understanding and not understanding, being puzzled but determined to understand. It seemed so important. I think I sensed some of her pain and longing.
And I remember when I was eleven, and we were finally allowed to leave the East.
We passed the checkpoints in the Tränenpalast, went down to the underground, took a train south to meet with my aunt and eventually resurfaced in the colourful West. There was so much colour. And it even smelled differently.

book 2/2, travelling, Flight to Beijing
Charlie Alice Raya, photography
photo: Birgit Tanner

The Easy Town Project is and always will be an international project.

book 2/2, travelling, Berlin

photographies and sketch © Charlie Alice Raya