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Ai Weiwei Athens Exhibit Speaks Volumes Highlighting Europe's 'Immoral' Response to Refugee Crisis

Ai Weiwei in athensChinese artist Ai Weiwei is no stranger to political activism and drawing attention to issues he finds of importance and human interest. His new exhibition is currently at display at the Athens Museum of Cycladic Art from May 30 to October 30 and includes a new sculpture inspired by the museum’s archaeological collection, as well as new pieces focusing much attention on the refugee crisis, expressing his sentiments shared with many that Europe is on the wrong side of history in this crisis.
Ai previously visited the Greek island of Lesbos where he set up a studio and filmed a documentary about the refugee crisis. He said that what he saw on the Lesbos, the island where in 2015 more than a million refugees entered into the EU, “deeply affected” him, calling Europe’s response to the refugee crisis “shameful.”
ai weiwei lesbosThis is his first exhibition in Greece entitled “Ai Weiwei at Cycladic,” Ai had much to say about the tragedy that brought his vision to fruition. “I see how Europe reacted to it. I think it’s shameful, it’s questionable, in many ways it’s not legal and it’s immoral in many ways,” Ai said.
Ai doesn’t need words to get his message across as his art speaks volumes. One piece is a marble-carved rubber tire that represents the countless number of flotation devices that have washed up along the shores of the Greek islands. Another, an abstract called “Tear Bottle/Tear Gas Canister,” represents clashes on the Greek-FYROM border, as it unites a gas canister used by police from FYROM during clashes with migrants and a antique “tear bottle,” a vessel that was used to collect the tears of mourners in ancient times.
It was also announced that 10 percent of the proceeds from tickets, sales and sponsorships will go directly to “carefully selected NGOs which are active in tackling the refugee crisis in Greece.”

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