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.

Marsh tits and robin


Marsh tit, 25 January 2016

On 25 January 2016, again to Gooilust. Not just the usual tit species, blue tit and great tit, but also a group of rarer marsh tits in a tree.

Marsh tit, Gooilust, 25 January 2016

That is, if they were really marsh tits, not willow tits. Based on this discussion and people recording marsh tits, not willow tits in Gooilust on waarneming.nl I made the difficult decision on these two species which are so similar, to finally decide for marsh tits.

A bit further, a nuthatch on the footpath.

Jays calling. Great spotted woodpecker sounds.

Snowdrop flowers.

Robin, Gooilust, 25 January 2016

Still further, near the manor, this beautiful robin in a rhododendron shrub.

Bathing chaffinches and nuthatch


Gooilust, 23 January 2016

On 23 January 2016, again to Gooilust. Where some trees were flowering, as this photo shows.

Blue tit sounds. A brambling on the forest floor.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, great tit

A great tit on an old tree.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, female blackbird

A female blackbird on a fence.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, male blackbird and chaffinches

A bit further, a male blackbird bathing in a puddle on the footpath. Soon, two male chaffinches join him. A nuthatch to the right of the puddle on the path.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, chaffinches

Then, the blackbird leaves, and the chaffinches keep bathing.

Jelly ear fungi on a fallen branch.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, nuthatch

On a big tree near the Gooilust manor, a nuthatch.

Gooilust, 23 January 2016, great spotted woodpecker

As we continue, a female great spotted woodpecker.

And finally, a robin on a big log near the exit.

Botanical garden blackbirds, butterflies and jays


Herring gull, 17 January 2016

This 17 January 2016 photo shows a herring gull on the roof of the ‘oranjerie’, the oldest hothouse, built in the eighteenth century, in the botanical garden. The bird drank from the gutter.

Before we arrived at the botanical garden, greenfinches and collared doves in trees.

In the garden, ring-necked parakeets flying and calling.

Blackbird male, 17 January 2016

Past the old astronomical observatory, a male blackbird eating berries.

In the Victoria amazonica hothouse, gold-edged owl butterflies flying around.

Jay, 17 January 2016

Before we left, we saw jays feeding on acorns.

Birds and spiders during wind, photo contest winners


Robin during wind

This photo of this robin, by Tinies, is the winner in a Dutch photo contest with at its theme ‘Wind’.

Feral pigeon

This photo of a feral pigeon, by Duysens, won the second prize.

Spiders' webs during wind

And this photo, by pietdriessen, about spiders and their webs moved by wind, won the third prize.

Redwings, bramblings, wood and flowers


Beech tree and leaves, 8 January 2016

On 8 January 2016, we went to Gooilust nature reserve again. This photo shows an old beech tree lying there. In its splits, colourful beech autumn leaves had settled.

Like the other photos in this blog post, this is a macro photography photo.

Before we arrived there, we walked on the lane from Corversbos nature reserve to Gooilust. A brambling sitting in a tree.

While one of many nuthatches sang.

In Gooilust, a flock of redwings feeding on holly berries. The redwing is the national bird of Turkey; though they don’t nest there, they only winter there; like in the Netherlands.

A bit further, a male brambling sitting on a branch.

A robin drinking from a puddle on the footpath.

Gooilust, 8 January 2016

Another dead tree lying on the forest floor.

A blue tit.

A jay.

A buzzard flies past.

Gooilust, witch-hazel flowers, 8 January 2016

The witch-hazel still, or already, flowering.

A mole‘s tunnel crossing the footpath.

A flowering daisy.

A male great spotted woodpecker in a tree.

A male and a female blackbird sit on a fence. Above them, acrobatic antics by long-tailed tits in a tree.

Near the estate’s garden, a short-toed treecreeper.

Egyptian geese on a meadow.

Two grey herons near ditches.

Gooilust, moss, 8 January 2016

As we returned to Corversbos, this photo of the moss growing there.