Ai Weiwei covers Berlin venue with 14,000 life jackets

Latest installation by renowned Chinese artist highlights plight of refugees risking their lives to reach Europe.

    Ai Weiwei's art project during the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin [Stefanie Loos/Reuters]
    Ai Weiwei's art project during the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival in Berlin [Stefanie Loos/Reuters]

    The renowned Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has once again highlighted the plight of refugees risking stormy waters to reach Europe.

    In his latest art installation in Berlin, the 58-year-old artist used 14,000 life jackets to cover the columns of the German city's famous Konzerthaus venue.

    The bright orange vests were brought to Germany from the Greek island of Lesbos, where they had been abandoned on beaches after being used by refugees crossing from Turkey.

    More than 400 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea, and refugee crossings in the first six weeks of 2016 ran at nearly 10 times the rate of the same period last year, the International Organization for Migration said last week.

    Gendarmenmarkt Berlin

    A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) onFeb 13, 2016 at 4:00am PST


    The activist, who often uses his social media accounts to highlight social issues, has repeatedly visited Lesbos since the beginning of the refugee crisis.


    READ MORE: A portrait of the artist as a dead boy


    In late December, he began sharing pictures and videos from the Greek island on his personal Instagram page, drawing attention to the troubles suffered by the thousands of people making the dangerous journey to escape war and hardship.

    Last month, Ai Weiwei announced the closure of his "Ruptures" exhibition in Copenhagen in protest against the Danish parliament's approval of laws to deter asylum seekers from entering the country.

    The vests were brought to Germany from the Greek island of Lesbos where they had been abandoned on beaches after being used by refugees [Stefanie Loos/Reuters]
    Ai Weiwei has repeatedly visited Lesbos in recent months [Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera And AP


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