Latest Issue

In the German city of Kassel, refugee politics play out in public art

When Kassel authorities suggested moving Olu Oguibe's obelisk to a less high-profile location, the artist accused them of caving to far-right pressure. And his work isn't the only controversial one

By Morgan Meaker  

The obelisk by US artist Olu Oguibe at the Koenigsplatz in Kassel. Photo: PA

When the German city of Kassel erected a 54ft monument “for refugees and strangers,” the obelisk was more than an artwork; it was a political statement. Since last spring, the dark pillar has loomed over locals like the issue of immigration has towered over German politics—leaving Europe’s most prosperous country divided.

The work signals that however shaky her position looks now, parts of Germany, at least, still stand by Chancellor’s Merkel’s 2015 decision to open…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect