Artist Ai Weiwei’s pro-refugee action in Berlin, Germany


Berlin concert hall, with refugees' live jackets put there by Ai Weiwei

From Quartz.com:

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 of 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.

See also here.

Family who fled Syria tells IBTimes UK about life under brutal IS [ISIS] rule: here.

Calais refugees attacked with rubber bullets


This video from London, England says about itself:

Developers board up new Banksy criticising Calais ‘Jungle’ teargas treatment

25 January 2016

Banksy has created a new artwork criticising the tactics used in The Jungle refugee camp in Calais – but it was covered up with wood shortly after developers discovered it. The latest mural was drawn opposite the French Embassy in Knightsbridge, west London, and depicts the young girl from the musical Les Miserables with tears streaming from her eyes as a can of CS gas lies beneath her. The artwork includes an interactive QR code which, when scanned, links to a video of teargas and rubber bullets allegedly used in a police raid on migrants and refugees in the camp on January 5.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

French cops ‘use rubber bullets on Calais refugees

Thursday 4th February 2016

FRENCH police are using tear gas and rubber bullets against refugees living in the notorious Jungle camp outside Calais.

Manchester-based Refugee and Asylum Participator Action Research (Rapar), which has visited the camp to deliver vital humanitarian aid, released evidence of the attacks yesterday.

The camp contains 6,000 refugees living in appalling conditions of mud and squalor. Refugees in the Jungle sent some of the visiting groups photographic evidence of the injuries inflicted by police, including pictures of spent baton rounds.

Rapar member Rhetta Moran said: “Mohammed, an Afghan father of a toddler girl, sent Rapar photographs of rubber bullet wounds that he described as sustained by Calais refugee camp residents.”

Labour MEP Julie Ward has visited the camp, where French riot police tried to prevent her from getting in.

She said: “The use of tear gas, rubber bullets and physical force, such as I experienced, is insupportable when dealing with people who are dispossessed.

“The refugees should be protected from the extreme right-wing who lurk on the fringes of the camp, and vulnerable camp inhabitants should be given the humanitarian assistance they need.”

London-based Umjum Mirza, an assistant branch secretary of train drivers’ union Aslef, also visited the camp.

“We need to learn the lessons of history and let the refugees into Britain immediately,” he said.

Calais Jungle refugees targeted by armed far-right militia in brutal campaign of violence. Exclusive: Migrants accuse local police of failing to protect them from the beatings – and carrying out their own assaults: here.

Imperialist Cecil Rhodes, anti-imperialist Oliver Tambo statues in England


This 2015 video series from Oxford University in England is called Why must Rhodes fall?

By Keith Flett in London, England:

A tale of two statues

Monday 1st February 2016

History collides in north London

DISCUSSION about the statue of British-born imperialist Cecil Rhodes at Oxford University and what should be done about it, if anything, continues despite Oriel College’s decision to keep it.

Statues surely exist to be taken down — most often in the context of wider movements for social change. Otherwise one might think that a statue of Rhodes serves to remind us of Britain’s inglorious imperial past. It is undoubtedly something that David Cameron would prefer us to forget, assuming he ever knew much about it in the first place.

Cecil Rhodes was the son of a Bishop’s Stortford vicar who packed him off to South Africa at the age of 17 as he had been a sickly child. Reverend Francis William Rhodes thought that the South African climate would be good for the young Rhodes’s health, and this at least was correct.

Rhodes’s ancestors had been brick manufacturers. They were, in short, part of the industrial class that built early British capitalism, if you like, from the bottom up.

They owned substantial areas of land including some in north London such as Tottenham Wood and areas of Muswell Hill.

I went to school in the same area of north London in the 1970s at Alexandra Park Comprehensive School. It was a school with a left-wing reputation, although perhaps not quite as well-known as the nearby Creighton School where the head teacher was Molly Hattersley, at that time the distinguished partner of Roy Hattersley.

Alexandra Park School was on the corner of Alexandra Park Road and Rhodes Avenue — named to mark the Rhodes family’s holdings in the area. Cecil Road is nearby.

This being north London in the 1970s we knew well enough who Cecil Rhodes was and the role he had played in the development of British imperial endeavour in Africa. But we thought little of the matter beyond that.

Street names that recall Britain’s imperial past are hardly unusual but sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.

The African National Congress had emerged as the leading force opposing the apartheid South Africa of which Cecil Rhodes had helped to lay the foundations.

One of the leaders of the ANC was Oliver Tambo who fled South Africa in the early 1960s, partly to evade arrest by the apartheid government but primarily to make sure that the work of the ANC could continue in exile.

In due course he made his way to London, the centre of the old imperial power.

Money was short but Muswell Hill at that time was not the area of super-expensive property it now is.

Tambo and his wife lived in a house in Alexandra Park Road, with other ANC sympathisers living nearby.

His house was less than five minutes’ walk away from Rhodes Avenue.

As the struggle against apartheid intensified and Tambo became an international figure, Nelson Mandela visited Muswell Hill and the local Tottenham MP Bernie Grant was also a visitor.

After Tambo’s death in 1993 the story of his north London years became increasingly well known. In 2007 a bust of Tambo was erected on Albert Road recreation ground, again just a few minutes’ walk from his old home and from Rhodes Avenue.

Imperialism and the man that helped to end its rule in South Africa are marked within a few hundred yards of each other in Muswell Hill.

Whatever the fate of the Oxford Cecil Rhodes statue, the bust of Oliver Tambo continues to stand proud.

Keith Flett is secretary of Haringey TUC.

This video from London, England issays about itself:

6 December 2008

Tribute to Oliver Tambo in Albert Road Recreation Ground & Play Area by ex members of the Anti Apartheid movement in the UK.

Hieronymus Bosch painting discovered in the USA


The Temptation of Saint Anthony, in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in Missouri in the USA

This photo shows the painting The Temptation of Saint Anthony, in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in Missouri in the USA; now discovered to have been painted by Hieronymus Bosch.

Translated from Omroep Brabant in the Netherlands:

New painting by Hieronymus Bosch discovered in United States of America

DEN BOSCH – A new work by painter Hieronymus (Jeroen) Bosch has been discovered. This conclude researchers from the Bosch Research and Conservation Project. This Monday they told about their research findings. It is the canvas “The Temptation of Saint Anthony”.

The painting is owned by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in the American city of Kansas City. It was hidden for years in the depot of the US American museum.

The painting from circa 1500-1510 has for decades been attributed to a pupil or follower of Bosch. But it turns out to be by Hieronymus Bosch.

Signatures found with infrared

With infrared technology, researchers have made visible signatures on the keypad. “These signatures dovetail perfectly with what is found on other panels from the core work of Bosch,” the researchers said.

Published: Monday, February 1st, 2016 – 10:37

See also here.

The researchers also claim that the number of drawings attributed to Bosh should rise from 10 to 20.

Detail of painting The Temptation of Saint Anthony, in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in Missouri in the USA

This photo, via TripAdvisor, is of a detail of another painting about The Temptation of Saint Anthony, also in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art in Kansas City in Missouri in the USA; said to have been painted by 16th century Dutch-Flemish artist Jan Wellens de Cock. Look at the woman’s foot in this detail.

Dutch children’s book on Jeroen Bosch: here. And here.

Artist Ai Weiwei poses as drowned refugee child Aylan


Chinese artist Ai Weiwei imitating the lifeless body of Syrian toddler Alan Kurdi on the Greek Island of Lesbos (photo by Rohit Chawla for India Today)

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei poses as drowned Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi

‘The image is haunting and represents the whole immigration crisis’

Maya Oppenheim

The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has staged a photo in which he poses as the drowned Syrian refugee toddler whose picture sparked an international outcry last year.

The image emulates the photo of the lifeless three-year-old boy Aylan Kurdi, who was washed up on the shores of Turkey last September.

The picture came to symbolise the tragic plight of the refugee crisis.

Since then, European countries have increasingly turned their backs on those fleeing war-torn countries.

Having already accepted more than a million migrants, Germany has announced plans to tighten its asylum rules. The Nordic countries have also markedly changed their stances with Finland and Sweden confirming they will start to deport thousands of people. Denmark has also been heavily criticised for passing a law that allows it to confiscate refugees’ cash and valuables if necessary.

In the attempt to raise awareness about the crisis, Ai set up the shoot with India Today.

The political artist is on the Greek island of Lesbos working on an art project on the refugee crisis.

Ai and his team “actively helped in staging this photograph for us,” explained Rohit Chawla, a photographer at India Today.

Chawla added: “I am sure it wasn’t very comfortable to lie down on the pebbles like that. But the soft evening light fell on his face when he lay down”.

The image has been exhibited at the India Art Fair as part of an exhibition titled “The Artists” this weekend.

Sandy Angus, the co-owner of India Art Fair, said: “It is an iconic image because it is very political, human and involves an incredibly important artist like Ai Weiwei.

“The image is haunting and represents the whole immigration crisis and the hopelessness of the people who have tried to escape their pasts for a better future.”

Gayatri Jayaraman, the magazine senior editor who interviewed him, also spoke fondly of Weiwei.

“He is such a great artist, but to me he also appeared to be a Mahatma Gandhi-like figure. He is very warm and humble, but his very presence there in that situation as tired, cold, wet refugees arrived was colossal. And very political.”

The photo will be featured in the art activist’s interview with India Today next week.

See also here.