Migration Artwork Displayed In Dresden Sparks Controversy
An artwork installed in Theaterplatz square in Dresden commemorating the deaths of migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean Sea has sparked a fresh controversy in the city, just a day after protests against a new public sculpture inspired by the conflict in Syria.
The work, Lampedusa 361, is named after the Italian island Lampedusa, the arrival point for many fleeing to Europe.
It includes pictures of the gravestones of migrants and refugees who died making the crossing and were buried there.
It is one of several official events marking the Anniversary of the Allied bombing of Dresden on February 13, 1945, which caused a firestorm that killed 25,000 people.
Earlier this week, the unveiling of the work 'Monument' by half-German, half-Syrian artist Manaf Halbouni on Tuesday (February 7, 2017) led to protests in the city and city mayor Dirk Hilbert was booed at the opening ceremony.
Halbouni used three old buses stood up on end to mimic a defensive barricade erected in Aleppo, in Syria, to protect people from sniper fire.
On Friday (February 10), the new installation provoked a mixed reaction from people coming to see it.
Visitor Gerit Thomas told Reuters, "I think it's good that it's here in Dresden, because then we are also directly confronted with it, so clearly and in such a central place."
But others were not pleased. Rainer Gruener said, "I don't think that this square should be spoilt, by a (memorial to) migrants or to some refugees who came across the ocean, who have paid money for it, and have died in the process, as horrible as that might be."
Opening the new work, which will be in place until February 14th, Dresden Mayor Dirk Hilbert said he hoped it would encourage people to make a stand "for peace and humanity in this world."