The Minneapolis Institute of Art’s neoclassical columns, flanked by two stone guardian lions, are one of the first things visitors to the museum will notice. And now, those columns stand out even more, after being covered by thousands of multicolored lifejackets.
And now, its showcasing at the Minneapolis Institute of Art marks its US debut.
Part of an exhibition exploring migration, immigration and forced displacement
“Safe Passage” is meant to highlight the perilous journey migrants made into Europe.
The exhibition, which opens Sunday in Minneapolis, aims to highlight artistic responses to migration, immigration and forced displacement.
“Safe Passage,” though, is not part of the traveling exhibit. The Minneapolis Institute of Art brought the installation in on its own, along with works from two other artist groups. To see it in the US, visitors will have to book a trip to the Twin Cities.
Minnesota has highest number of refugees per capita of any US state
The life jackets, all 2,400 of them, create an arresting image — grabbing pedestrians’ attentions regardless of whether they intended to stop at the museum. And that’s the point, said Gabriel Ritter, curator and head of contemporary art at the museum.
“My hope is that this does stop people in their tracks and force people to think, and does implicate people in the decisions they make,” he told CNN. “Because here in Minnesota, these are very much our friends, our neighbors, the people we live with as part of our communities.”
The US debut of the installation comes amidst rising refugee tensions in the US.