by Maria Sofou
After the outrageous law that allows authorities to search asylum-seeking refugees’ homes and confiscate their belongings recently passed in Denmark, Ai Weiwei protested by closing his show at the Faurschou Foundation in Copenhagen.
The artist told the Guardian, “My moments with refugees in the past months have been intense. I see thousands come daily, children, babies, pregnant women, old ladies, a young boy with one arm. They come with nothing, barefoot, in such cold, they have to walk across the rocky beach. Then you have this news; it made me feel very angry. The way I can protest is that I can withdraw my works from that country. It is very simple, very symbolic – I cannot co-exist, I cannot stand in front of these people, and see these policies. It is a personal act, very simple; an artist trying not just to watch events but to act, and I made this decision spontaneously.”
At a time when thousands of people leave their homes to escape war and further risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean sea, the Danish parliament’s approval of a law proposal that allows seizing valuables and delaying family reunions for asylum seekers is truly outrageous and inhumane. Hostile Europe needs to change.
Ai Weiwei is currently in Lesbos, Greece, filming a documentary about the refugee situation in Greece.