Quebec Standard

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Quebec City site covered in life jackets to call attention to refugee problem

Quebec

Key takeaways: 

  • Two thousand life jackets were chucked off by refugees, the work of Chinese artist and humanitarian activist Ai Weiwei.
  • It took 15 individuals ten days of work to make the 2,000 life jackets on the Royal Battery, a military defense structure created by the French in 1691.

The tide of the St. Lawrence River fills and drains the moat wrapping the historic Royal Battery in Quebec City’s Petit Champlain district. And from now till October, thousands of life vests of all forms and sizes bound to the old greystone walls of the battery will flow with the tide.

Two thousand life jackets decorate those walls — part of an exhibit called Life Jackets by Chinese artist and humanitarian activist Ai Weiwei.

The display aims to raise awareness regarding the refugee problem and mass migration, and every single plastic and fabric buoyancy gadget, neatly aligned in rows, tells one refugee’s story.

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The tide of the St. Lawrence River fills and drains the moat wrapping the historic Royal Battery in Quebec City’s Petit Champlain district. And from now till October, thousands of life vests of all forms and sizes bound to the old greystone walls of the battery will flow with the tide

The Chinese artist collected an assessed 14,000 life jackets in 2016 on the island of Lesbos in Greece. Syrian refugees left behind their life jackets as they escaped the civil battle in their homeland, said Vincent Roy.

Roy is the public and artistic director of EXMURO, a Quebec City non-profit organization with a mandate to develop, create and disseminate contemporary art projects in public areas. He requested the Beijing-born artist to display his art in Quebec City. The organization then shipped the 2,000 life jackets with instructions from Weiwei to gather them on the wall and dispose of them afterward.

“Artist and humanitarian activist Ai Weiwei is truly famous for his dedicated, unorthodox and provocative practice that criticizes the inequalities of financial, political and social power in the world,” EXMURO stated in a press release.

Source – CBC News

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