Author: Helen Pidd
An art project featuring a list of the 34,361 refugees and migrants who lost their lives trying to reach Europe has been torn down for the second time in Liverpool.
The artist behind the initiative, Banu Cennetoğlu, has decided not to install it for a third time, leaving the ripped remains as a “reminder of this systematic violence exercised against people”.
The list, which the Guardian published as a special supplement in June, was produced for World Refugee Day. It has been displayed in cities including Berlin, Istanbul, Basel and Athens and last month was installed on a 280 metre-long hoarding on Great George Street in Liverpool as part of the city’s Biennial art festival.
Cennetoğlu said it had been torn down “very violently” on Sunday. She said she had decided, “sadly”, to leave the site as it was. The artwork had never been damaged in other cities, she said.
She said: “The List was installed on a 280-metre hoarding on Great George Street, Liverpool on 12 July 2018. It has been repeatedly damaged, removed and targeted since it was installed.
“We have decided to leave it in this current ‘state’ as a manifestation and reminder of this systematic violence exercised against people.”
Festival organisers said they still did not know who had torn the list down or why. Some of the names are still legible, and they plan to install a notice explaining why the others are missing and directing visitors to the website showing the full list.
It was first ripped down on 28 July. At the time, a festival spokeswoman said: “It is timely and important to make the List public during a global refugee crisis. We were dismayed to see it had been removed … and would like to know why. The List has been met with critical acclaim and we are doing everything we can to reinstate it.”
Compiled and updated each year by United for Intercultural Action, a European network of 550 anti-racist organisations in 48 countries, the list traces information relating to the deaths of 34,361 refugees and migrants who have lost their lives within, or on the borders of Europe since 1993.
Since 2007, in collaboration with art workers and institutions, Cennetoğlu has facilitated updated versions of the list using public spaces such as billboards, transport networks and newspapers in cities across Europe.