Documentary

Ai Weiwei’s Journey as a Refugee Through Europe

Image © Ai Weiwei, courtesy Foam

As a political refugee who lived under constant government surveillance, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei feels related to the growing influx of refugees attempting to enter the EU. He explores the experience of the migrant in a new exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam.

Since his first visit to the Greek island of Lesbos in December 2015, Ai Weiwei and his team have traveled to refugee camps all around the Mediterranean, including in Syria, Turkey, Italy, Israel and France.

The exhibition at Foam, Amsterdam, will deal with “the fate of the individual versus the overruling systems of society,” switching from Ai Weiwei’s personal experiences as a refugee of the Chinese Government, to the hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants who have risked their lives to reach Europe, only to find their path barred by a succession of border closures.

Alongside marble sculptures and films, Ai Weiwei will cover the walls of Foam with thousands of photographs taken on his mobile phone.

This immense collage will reflect on all the personal encounters the artist has had with individuals and the tragic situation unfolding in the Mediterranean, bringing to our attention what is, in Ai Weiwei’s words, is: “The biggest, most shameful humanitarian crisis since World War II”.

The exhibition grows from the publication of Foam Magazine #43, released in December 2015, on the theme ‘Freedom of Expression under Surveillance’, in which Ai Weiwei worked as the guest editor.

More information available here.