Ai Weiwei and Anish Kapoor led a protest march across London on Thursday (17 September) to show solidarity with the refugees. The Chinese dissident artist and the British-Indian sculptor invited the public to walk with them as they called for "human rather than political" responses to the ongoing crisis.
The pair walked from the Royal Academy of Arts, where Weiwei is hosting his current exhibition, to Kapoor's Olympic sculpture in Stratford. The two artists wore a blanket over their shoulders as they made the eight-mile walk across London to symbolise the refugee's needs. The blankets were donated to the Refugee Council at the end of the walk. Kapoor said that artists were part of the situation, telling Reuters: "One might say in a way artists are refugees − they're always on the edge, they always sit with a mind to what's slightly outside."
Last week Ai Weiwei called on the British government to do more to help the refugees coming into Europe. He was speaking a press conference for the opening of his latest exhibition at London's Royal Academy of Art, which marks his first exhibition since Chinese authorities returned his passport in July after four years. He went on to say that he felt "very proud for Germany" over their "civilised" response to the refugee crisis, but insisted that "British people also have very strong compassion" and that the Government should act on that.
Kapoor documented the solidarity walk on what appears to be his Instagram page, posting pictures of the huge crowds that began to join the artists on their way to East London. His posts also gained attention from those who were unaware of the solidarity walk, with many commenting on his photos to enquire about their whereabouts so they could join in.