Refugee foil blankets used to create 'new EU flag'

Refugee foil blankets used to create 'new EU flag'
A 'new EU flag' has been created by art students from metallic foil blankets used by refugees in the Greek island of Lesvos.
2 min read
13 Jun, 2016
Arts student Mariana Bisti obtained the used foil blankets from the Greek island [Getty]
Foil blankets used by refugees on the Greek island of Lesvos have been used to create a "new EU flag" for an arts exhibit at a London university.

The striking metallic flag was put together by arts student Mariana Bisti who obtained the used foil blankets from the Greek island in a stinging criticism of EU policy towards refugees, and to symbolise a new refugee "nation".

The EU has been in the firing line after striking a controversial deal to force migrants arriving in Greece to return to Turkey in an attempt to curb the flow of refugees to Europe.

"The flag is made of four used foil blankets, collected from Lesvos island, where they were utilised by volunteers and rescue teams to drape the refugees who reach the shores," Bisti said.

"The blankets prevent hypothermia and offer relief from the cold to refugees whose clothes are often soaking wet after a perilous sea journey," she explained.

The foil blankets were like the "rescuing arms" of aid workers to refugees who arrived in Europe - only to be turned back.

The flag was raised on the University College of London's building, which opened for a public exhibit of its students' work last week.

"Creating and raising the refugee flag is an attempt to substantiate and elevate the refugees to the status of their most deprived attribute: that of a citizen," Bisti said.

"The raising is an attempt to create and disseminate a powerful social and humanitarian message marked by solidarity," she said.

A string quartet played the EU anthem as the flag was raised - half-mast to mourn the Union's stance.

"The performance is a comment to the EU's reluctant attitude towards the refugees," Bisti explained. "The EU was formed to share democratic, humanitarian and liberal values."

The flag will remain on display on the university building in London until June 19, when the exhibit comes to a close.