A huge graffiti image of toddler Alan Kurdi, pictures of whose dead body stirred global sympathy for migrants fleeing war and poverty, confronts motorists, pedestrians and river travelers in Frankfurt.
Thousands of weekday commuters using the Main river footpath and road bridge will see the 120-square-meter image of the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned in September along with his mother and brother as they tried to reach Europe. The artwork on a peninsula about a 15-minute walk from the city centre will stay until the autumn.
“We are very sad about the children dying and we are angry,” says graffiti artist Justus Becker, 38, known as COR, who worked on the image with another artist who uses the name Bobby Borderline. “We want to work with issues facing our society.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is struggling to convince other European countries to accept a plan for handling the unprecedented flow of migrants and may face a backlash in state elections on Sunday over her open-door policy on refugees.
Staff at the European Central Bank’s headquarters across the river can also see the image.
The artists’ previous projects include graffiti on the boundary fence around the new ECB building in 2014 which showed a female figure representing Justice holding a scales with euro symbols in one weighing pan and refugees in the other.
The Aylan project, which has used 50 litres of wall paint and about 80 cans of spray paint, is intended to provoke by bringing the issue of refugees to Germans’ front doors, explains Becker.