​ai wei wei wants to build a memorial for refugees

The Chinese artist has set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos.

by Felix Petty
05 January 2016, 12:16am

Chinese artist and political dissident Ai Wei Wei is planning to turn his socio-political art practice towards the humanitarian crisis brought about by the influx of refugees into Europe fleeing violence in Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea. More than 1,000,000 refugees made their way from North Africa and Middle East to Europe in 2015, with the millionth arriving on December 21. Most of those arriving in Europe are making the perilous crossing by sea, over 4,500 dieing en route.

Speaking to AFP Ai Wei Wei said he plans to build a monument to those who "have lost their lives under the waves…" Ai has already set up a studio on the island of Lesbos in the Mediterranean, and plans to get involved in projects, utilising his other studios in China and Germany. "This is a very historical moment from any perspective," he said. "As an artist I want to be more involved, I want to [create] artworks in relation to the crisis and also create some kind of consciousness about the situation."

Earlier Ai had spent time in the Moria refugee camp on the island, using his Instagram account to document his interactions with refugees and aid workers.

refugee crisis
Ai Wei Wei