Human Flow

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Barnaby Smith Tuesday, 13 March 2018
Published in ABR Arts

The unspeakably upsetting image of the three-year-old Syrian boy Alan Kurdi lying dead on a Turkish beach inspired a number of visual or artistic responses after it went disturbingly viral in 2015. Among the most high-profile, and certainly among the most provocative, was Ai Weiwei’s. The exiled Chinese artist recreated the scene for his own black-and-white photograph, in which he lies face down in the sand instead of Alan, who drowned after the boat meant to transport him and his family to Greece was overturned by a wave.

Ai has also confronted the question of refugees in such memorable large-scale artworks as Sunflower Seeds, Fairytale, and, at the 2018 Sydney Biennale, Law of the Journey. But this new documentary is surely the culmination of Ai’s preoccupation with the plight of refugees in the twenty-first century.

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Published in ABR Arts
Barnaby Smith

Barnaby Smith

Barnaby Smith is a writer, critic, poet and musician currently based in northern New South Wales. His has written for Rolling Stone, the ABC, The Guardian, The Lifted Brow, The Quietus, Art GuideSoutherly, Cordite, Best Australian Poems and many others. In 2018 he won the Scarlett Award for art writing. 

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