Ai Weiwei Has Packed 3,500 Refugee Life Jackets Into the Walls of the Danish Museum Charlottenborg, an art installation to aware for the refugee crisis.
Ai Weiwei continues to raise awareness for the ongoing European Migrant Crisis with his new installation at Copenhagen, Denmark. Titled Soleil Levant, the installation sees the windows on the Kunsthal Charlottenborg’s façade packed with approximately 3,500 life jackets salvaged from refugees in the island of Lesbos in Greece.
The Chinese dissident artist’s crammed life jackets aims to show folks how “dangerously confined and painfully cramped” the journey is for refugees as they travel on lifeboats towards Europe. Additionally, the name of the piece was inspired by Claude Monet’s painting from 1872 which portrays the harbor of Le Favre in France during the Franco-Prussian War (1879-71).
“Obviously Ai Weiwei wants to put attention to the ongoing refugee crisis in Europe, or as he calls it, the human crisis,” said Kunsthal Charlottenborg director Michael Thouber in a statement. “The beautiful thing about this piece is that every one of these life jackets, 3,500 lifejackets represents a human story.”
The art installation will be on view at Kunsthal Charlottenborg up until October 1, 2017.
With this installation, Ai Weiwei hopes to bring focus to the refugee crisis currently taking place across Europe. According to UNHCR, 1,377,349 individuals arrived in Europe via sea in 2015 and 2016. In the same period, over 8000 individuals have died or disappeared attempting this journey. It is the wide-spread humanitarian crisis, which Ai Weiwei aims to bring focus on.
Ai Weiwei is one of the most respected living artists in the world today. His work – across sculpture, architecture, installations, music, photography and film – always challenge and encourage critical debate. He has previously exhibited at ARoS, Louisiana and Arken in Denmark, where his works are also part of the museums’ permanent collections.