Impossible to ignore: 14,000 life vests, collected from refuges fleeing from Turkey, wrapped the columns at the Konzerthaus concert hall in Berlin. Ai Weiwei created the temporary installation last month for the Cinema for Peace gala, for which he served as the honorary jury president.
A bright memorial of a dark plight: this year alone, more than 400 refugees have died while attempting the dangerous crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. Ai collected the life vests from the northern shore of Lesbos, a tragic stockpile he documented on his personal Instagram account during his first visit last December. He has since opened a studio on the Greek island.
“What a waste. To put life in this jacket,” he said. “It’s not necessary. We can provide a better, safe passage for those people.”
“As an artist, I have to relate to humanity’s struggles. I never separate these situations from my art.”