Life Stories Project – Walter Benjamin

This year’s summer project is to make a book about influential people in Art and Design. I’ve been assigned to depict the life story of Walter Benjamin (WB). Walter Benjamin is a well-known critics, essayist, theorist of art and design. He was fascinated with the contemporary art as well.

After conducting research, I decided to focus in depicting the journey Walter Benjamin had gone through escaping the German-Nazi in France through Spain so he can live in the USA. I based my book on Lisa Fittko’s book Escape through the Pyrenees. She was an amateur guide who accompany Walter Benjamin walked the mountain track along with Henny Gurland and her son to reach the Spanish border. Unfortunately, Walter Benjamin couldn’t finish his journey as he wasn’t allowed to cross the border and died in September 26th, 1940. There’re a lot of conspiracy theories surround his death. Many said he died of suicide and many said he died because of the German-Nazi secret service plot. He was buried in Roman Catholic cemetery in Port-Bou, Spain.

I decided to create a suitcase made out of card and fill it with the things left behind by WB (pipe, scan of his lung, money, glasses case, watch and his last manuscript). Sadly the manuscript was never found. I have made a mock book and I would like to have it properly printed and bound.


© Ayu Baker, 2014-2015. Life Story – Walter Benjamin.

few sketches in my book:

Here are the images I produced for my visual book.


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