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Polish artist M-City transforms 18-metre long bus into refugee pontoon to raise awareness about global humanitarian crisis.

In the same week that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei unveiled his latest artwork tackling the on-going refugee crisis, M-City turned the streets of Stavanger into waterways with his creation for the city’s fleet of Street Art buses.

Addressing the crisis in a similar manner to the Chinese conceptual artist and political activist Weiwei, Pontoon is powerful tribute to those risking their lives to reach European shores.

The design attests to M-City’s concern about the plight of migrants who embark on the dangerous journey to Europe by sea. The bus entered traffic this week and will undertake some of the 85,000 journeys that are registered daily in the city.

From the artist:

A bus is like a small boat, moving from A to B. Usually we just sit in our seat, switch off and look out the window at the same things: same buildings, same houses, same cars, same shops, same weather, same people. We don’t know the driver or the other passengers but we trust the driver to reach our destination safely. Finally, we exit at our stop to go to our jobs, our families, our friends, the bar, the shopping center...

But let’s imagine that the bus is a boat, a kind of pontoon. You look out as far as you can see and you don’t recognize anything. You don’t know the driver or the other passengers. You don’t know where you’re going or if you’ll get there safely. You don’t know any of the stops and you don’t know what will happen to you when you reach your destination. But you and all the passengers do have a common goal: to save your life. 

About the artist

M-City is an artist and lecturer at the Academy of Art in Szczecin, Poland. He is best-known for his large-scale, political and industrial-themed murals, which involve piecing together hundreds of carefully cut stencils. An incredibly prolific and methodical painter, he has produced work up to 85 meters long and notched up over 700 pieces to his M-City project alone, including several in Stavanger on previous trips to Nuart Festival.

Read more about Stavanger’s Street Art buses here.


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