Unveiled on February 13, 2016 in the midst of the 66th Berlinale International Film Festival, Ai Weiwei’s latest art installation features thousands of life vests tied onto the pillars of the city’s famous Konzerthaus Berlin, a concert hall that had been rebuilt in 1984 after the original structure, the mid-19th century Schauspielhaus Berlin, was destroyed in World War II. Authorities at Lesbos helped the 58-year-old artist collect the bright orange life jackets that had been abandoned on the beaches of the Greek island of Lesbos. According to the International Organization for Migration, over 400 people have already died in 2016 in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean Sea.
Related: Activists upcycle discarded life jackets into mattresses for refugees
In addition to his studio in Lesbos, Ai Weiwei recently staged a photograph where he posed as Alan Kurdi, the 3-year-old Syrian refugee toddler who drowned near a Turkish beach. The activist also uses his social media accounts, most notably Instagram, to highlight social issues.
+ Ai Weiwei
Images via Ai Weiwei