CHINESE artist and activist Ai Weiwei has been outspoken in his criticism of Europe’s handling of the ongoing refugee crisis.
In his latest art installation, he has covered the pillars of Berlin’s concert hall with 14,000 life vests discarded by refugees who had arrived on the shores of Greek island Lesbos.
The neon orange jackets were used to call attention to the plight of refugees fleeing their war-torn countries and risking their lives to reach Europe by sea from Turkey.
In 2015, over 1 million refugees arrived in Europe via sea routes, and more than 3,700 of them perished during the perilous sea voyage between Turkey and Lesbos, while tens of thousands of life jackets have been left behind on the island’s beaches.
Since the start of the crisis, Ai has repeatedly visited Lesbos and even set up a studio there, where he has been working on several projects focusing on the issue, including the #safepassage campaign on social media, which uses pictures taken on Lesbos and other refugee entry points.
Ai recently closed two exhibitions in Denmark in protest after the country passed a law allowing the state to confiscate valuables from migrants.
He also caused a stir when he recreated the haunting image of drowned Syrian child Alan Kurdi.
— David Beard (@dabeard) January 31, 2016