Photos: Artist Ai Weiwei has draped Berlin’s concert hall with 14,000 refugee life jackets

Ai Weiwei has been a harsh critic of Europe’s response to its refugee crisis.

He recently set up a studio on the Greek island of Lesbos, the main entry point for tens of thousands of refugees who make the dangerous sea crossing from Turkey. He is working on several projects that highlight the refugees’ plight, recently reenacting the harrowing photo of drowned Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi.

In Lesbos, the artist has been collecting thousands life jackets discarded by refugees when they reach the coast, for an installation that opened today (Feb. 13) in Berlin. Some 14,000 of the orange life vests were wrapped around the pillars of the city’s concert hall.

More than 3,700 migrants died crossing the Mediterranean last year, according to the International Organization for Migration. Many would-be refugees are trying to reach Germany, which registered more than 1 million migrants last year.

Collecting the life jackets in Lesbos. (EPA/Stratis Balaskas)
epa05156769 Workers attach numerous life jackets used and discarded by refugees and migrants to the facade of the 'Konzerthaus' (Concert Hall) as part of an art installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on the sidelines of the 66th annual Berlin International Film Festival, in Berlin, Germany, 12 February 2016. Ai Weiwei's new art project aims to remember the fate of the many refugees who died trying to reach Europe. The artist received the life vests from the Greek island of Lesbos. Berlin's Concert Hall will be the venue of the Cinema for Peace Gala on 15 February. The 'Berlinale' film festival runs from 11 to 21 February.  EPA/BERND VON JUTRCZENKA
(EPA/Bernd Von Jutrczenka)
(EPA/Joerg Carstensen)
(EPA/Joerg Carstensen)

Tourists gather at the art installation in Berlin

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