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A call to conscience: life jackets and tourist boats

by Mike

2 August 2017 • Our ship arrived in Copenhagen, and before flying home I wanted to see the art installation from world-famous artist Ai Weiwei.

The Chinese artist collected more than 3,500 life jackets from refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos. With these life vests he filled the windows in the façade of Kunsthal Charlottenborg, located in Nyhavn, the touristic heart of Copenhagen.

He named it "Soleil Levant", after Claude Monet's famous "Impression, Soleil Levant" from 1872. Monet's painting, depicting the port of Le Havre, captures the political and social reality of this time.

Ai Weiwei wanted to capture the actual situation, with almost 1.4 million refugees having arrived in Europe over the last two years, and with more than 8,000 people who died at sea.

I was very impressed by this installation, which will stay until the 1st of October 2017. The location could not have been better: the contrast with the massive amount of tourists who take a ride on one of the excursion boats just in front cannot be more outspoken.

An art installation which asks for silence, reflection.

Text and photos: Mike