Monument to Strangers and Refugees (2017) by Olu Oguibe
The German town of Kassel, which hosts the international quinquennial documenta, still can’t figure out what do with Olu Oguibe’s award-winning contribution to the fair’s 14th edition. The Nigerian artist’s 54-foot obelisk Monument to Strangers and Refugees has stood in a town square since the local municipality launched a crowdfunding campaign to acquire the €600,000 ($693,000) work last January.

The artwork, which won the fair’s prestigious Arnold Bode Prize, has been heavily politicized since it was installed in the square. Local politicians from Germany’s right-wing anti-immigration AfD party (Alternative für Deutschland) have reportedly lobbied to have the obelisk removed, objecting to its gold inscription, which is taken from the Bible’s Matthew 25:35. The passage reads “I was a stranger and you took me in,” and is emblazoned on each side of the monument in German, English, Arabic, and Turkish. -

The city of Kassel, Germany, has dismantled Nigerian-born American artist Olu Oguibe’s Monument to Strangers and Refugees (2017), originally made for documenta 14. According to local newspaper reports, the sculpture – a 16-metre-high obelisk – was removed with two cranes in the early hours of Wednesday morning, and was later seen strapped to a flatbed truck and taken to a construction site on the outskirts of the city. -

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