Ai Weiwei Visits Lesbos Refugee Camp to Document the Migrant Crisis
He shared the journey with his Instagram followers.
The Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has been a vocal supporter of refugees since the beginning of the European migrant crisis. Now, making full use of his recently-returned passport, Ai has traveled to the Greek island of Lesbos to volunteer at the Moria refugee camp.
An avid Instagram user, Ai shared pictures and videos of his experience on the photo sharing platform, documenting the plight of displaced people from the war-torn and poverty-stricken regions of the Middle East and Africa who have survived the dangerous journey to Greece.
From the front line of the European migrant crisis, the artist gave his 185,000 Instagram followers an insight into what daily life is like for refugees arriving in Europe.
Ai shared pictures of living conditions in the camp. In a photo of migrants huddled around a fire, the artist wrote “In the Moria refugee camp there [is] no heating. No light.”
He also uploaded a video of aid workers helping people off a rubber dinghy as they arrive from Turkey to the Greek island. This year alone, nearly 700 have drowned in the Aegean Sea on this route.
For many, the refugee crisis is a distant problem that they are not exposed to outside of the news media. Ai’s followers praised him for highlighting the reality on the ground and taking action.
“The situation that the refugees are in is so important for everyone to see,” one of the artist’s followers commented. “Thank you for posting.”
Before Ai’s critically acclaimed survey at London’s Royal Academy of Arts in September he made headlines by staging a protest walk with fellow contemporary art star Anish Kapoor in solidarity with refugees.
At the end of September a group of UK culture figures led by Kapoor took out a full-page advertisement in the Guardian urging the UK government to act on the migrant crisis.
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