A Mobile Wall of Life Jackets from Chios, Greece

Erected in support of refugees from war-torn countries.

The Concept

For many months thousands of people have been fleeing wars in the Middle East. They seek peace in Europe, focusing all their hopes on the continent. A flood of images enters our homes, including rescue scenes from the island of Lesbos and fences with barbed wire from the Balkan borders. The installation of Fred George and Andrew Wakeford allows us a new perspective on this drama. It is an internal perspective, because here the individuals are shown in the foreground, with their stories of flight and displacement.

On the following pages are examples of the refugees, with portraits and stories of individuals who successfully overcame the odds to arrive safely in Germany. These people have been interviewed and photographed by the artists George and Wakeford.

The intensive use of barbed wire in the installation illustrates the extreme conditions of the conflict in Syria and the barriers that must be crossed to flee the war zones.

The life jackets were recovered from the Greek islands. They were purchased by the refugees as a precaution for the dangerous crossing. 

In Germany, with the help of the Saarland refugees,  George and Wakeford have constructed a 10 meter mobile wall of these life jackets.

Each vest carries a photograph and a QR code which connects to the individual's story.

The model represents the wall 18 meters in length.  A 3 meter vertical fence post holding concertina wire on a “Y” frame topped will run the length of the installation.