Image via Ai Weiwei Image via Ai Weiwei

His projects surrounding the refugee crisis, which have been met with a sharp criticism as to whether they are raising awareness, have included recreating the chilling photo of Alan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy who drowned making the treacherous journey out of Syria. Weiwei also took to Instagram to cancel his show at Copenhagen's Faurschou Foundation, stating: "I am very shocked about yesterday's news that the Danish government has decided to seize refugees' private property.

Last September, Weiwei and fellow artist Anish Kapoor walked from the Royal Academy of Arts to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in Stratford, London, to show their compassion for migrants making the journey to Europe.

Kapoor and Weiwei are not the only artists who have used their art as a soundboard for their views on the migrant crisis. Enigmatic street-artist Banksy included references to the crisis in his colossal Dismaland theme park, which included a sculpture depicting migrants crossing waters to seek refuge in Europe. The dismantled theme park was also then used to create shelters for migrants at the Calais camp.

Days before Dismaland was closed, Pussy Riot Club released a video entitled ''Refugees In'' which featured the caged band alongside riot police.

Image via Vianney Le Caer for Pussy Riot Image via Vianney Le Caer for Pussy Riot

In December of 2015, Banksy created an artwork within the Calais ''Jungle'' migrant camp. The piece depicted the late Steve Jobs, with a black bin bag and an original Apple computer in his hand. The work highlighted Jobs' ancestry, as he was the son of a Syrian migrant who fled to America following the second world war.

Image via the Guardian Image via the Guardian

Earlier this year, a new artwork by Banksy popped up opposite the French embassy in London. The piece criticized the French police's alleged use of teargas at the ''Jungle.''

Banksy's latest work, opposite the French Embassy, Knightsbridge Image via the artist's website Banksy's latest work, opposite the French Embassy, Knightsbridge
Image via the artist's website

Jacques-Louis David's La Mort de Marat and The Death of Marat by Edvard Munch

Jacques-Louis David, La mort de Marat, 1793 Image via RMN / © Gérard Blot Jacques-Louis David, La mort de Marat, 1793
Image via RMN / © Gérard Blot

Political art, as we know, is not a new phenomenon, although earlier works can be dated back, still one of the most shock-inspiring political artworks is Jacques-Louis David's La Mort de Marat or Marat Assassiné (The Death of Marat) 1793. The piece, which depicts the murdered French revolutionary journalist Jean-Paul Marat, became one of the most iconic works of the Revolution.

Edvard Munch, The Death of Marat, 1907 Image via The Independant Edvard Munch, The Death of Marat, 1907
Image via The Independant

Edvard Munch's The Death of Marat, 1907, also depicts the death, however, in Munch's version, murderer Charlotte Corday steals focus from Marat, as she stands eerily in the foreground.

Eugene Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple

Eugene Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple, 1830 Image via Konbini Eugene Delacroix, La Liberté guidant le peuple, 1830
Image via Konbini

France has a rich history of political art. In Eugene Delacroix's La Liberté guidant le peuple (Liberty Leading the People) 1830, the Romantic artist captures the euphoria which followed the July Revolution when King Charles X was overthrown. Liberty is beautifully captured by the goddess Marianne, who is depicted holding the flag of the French Revolution, now of course France's flag, proudly above those who had fallen.

Paul McCarthy's 'Tree' sculpture

Paul McCarthy's 'tree' Image via The Guardian Paul McCarthy's 'tree'
Image via The Guardian

Arguably far from Delacroix's work, is Paul McCarthy's inflatable 'tree' sculpture which was erected at Paris's Place Vendôme, the residence of the French justice ministry. McCarthy, the estranged father of the controversial Chapman brothers, like his sons, is no stranger to raising eyebrows, with his previous works including figures wearing George Bush masks copulating with pigs. In 2014, the 'tree' sculpture was vandalised by right-wing protestors, who accused McCarthy of degrading the streets of Paris with a work which resembled a 'butt plug,' or "plug anal," as the French would say. Meanwhile, across France, President François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy were facing a drop in popularity, whilst, Marine Le Pen, leader of the hard-right National Front, won seats in the Senate for the first time. The sculpture was deflated.

Picasso's Guernica 

Pablo Picasso Guernica, 1937 Image via Pablopicasso.org Pablo Picasso Guernica, 1937
Image via Pablopicasso.org

Still standing as one of the most powerful anti-war artworks, Picasso's grey, black, and white suffering figures are as haunting today as they first were when painted in 1937.
The painting captures the bombing of Guernica, in the Basque region of northern Spain, by German and Italian troops, who were requested to do so by the Spanish Nationalists. The painting shocked the world and was accredited with being partly responsible for the global attention given to the Spanish Civil War.

In 1937, three years since Picasso had last been in Spain, the Spanish Republican government commissioned him to create a mural for the Exposition Internationale des Arts et Techniques dans la Vie Moderne at the 1937 World's Fair in Paris, where he was currently living.

Deeply saddened by George Steer's description of the bombings for The New York Times, Picasso halted any plans for other murals and was inspired to capture the horrors of Guernica.

As the work does not specifically reference Guernica, today it still carries the same timeless, universal anti-war message.

Face2Face project JR and Marco

JR and Marco, Face2Face, 2007 Image via JR art JR and Marco, Face2Face, 2007
Image via JR art

In 2007, French and Swiss artists JR and Marco held what they described as the largest ever illegal photography exhibition. The duo paired portraits of Israelis and Palestinians and displayed them in Palestinian and Israeli cities. Inspired by their travels through Israel and Palestine, describing the conflict they saw as: ''like twin brothers raised in different families...and he is endlessly fighting with him,' they created the Face2Face project. The artists took portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same job and posted them side by side, or face to face.

David Černý's Shark and Pink Tank

David Černý, Shark, 2005 Image via patch.com David Černý, Shark, 2005
Image via patch.com

At the 2005 Prague Biennale, anti-conformist artist David Černý unveiled his sculpture entitled Shark which featured a handcuffed Saddam Hussein suspended in liquid and wearing his underpants. The work, a parody of Damien Hirst's The Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living, went on to be banned from being displayed in Belgium and Poland.

David Černý, Pink Tank, 1991 Image via Free York David Černý, Pink Tank, 1991
Image via Free York

Černý is not shy of making a politcal statement, in 1991 the Czech artist painted a number 23 Soviet tank pink, an act which led to his arrest. The tank was part of a monument which commemorated the Russian liberation of the Czech Republic in 1945. The artist wanted to reduce the monument to a mere object, in an attempt to remove it's historical significance, as for him, the tank was a symbol of the political power of the Communists.

Boris Mikhailov The Case History series

From Boris Mikhailov's The Case History series (1997–98) Image via MoMA From Boris Mikhailov's The Case History series (1997–98)
Image via MoMA

Ukrainian-born Boris Mikhailov, spent over 30 years capturing the former Soviet Union and the suffering endured by those living in post-communist Eastern Europe. The Case History series (1997–98) of life-size color photographs, which was on display at the MoMA in 2011, portrayed those who had been left in poverty and part of a disenfranchised community existing on the margins of Russia's new economic regime.

Josephine Meckseper's CDU-CSU

Josephine Meckseper, CDU-CSU, 2001 Image via Saatchi Gallery Josephine Meckseper, CDU-CSU, 2001
Image via Saatchi Gallery

Josephine Meckseper's 2001 photographic work CDU-CSU at first glance, could be straight from the pages of Vogue, take a closer look and the necklaces which adorn both women bear the initials of Germany's CDU and CSU parties. The politically charged work explores issues of social privilege and capitalism, blurring the lines between materialism and politics, reducing our votes to being something which we buy and can be bought. Voters become customers and political parties become brands with their 'products' being watered down to artificial press calls, alluding to the likes of the supposed fake turkey which George W. Bush presented to the Iraqi troops on Thanksgiving in 2003.

Lisa Anne Auerbach's Do Ask, Do Tell

Lisa Anne Auerbach, Do Ask, Do Tell, 2010 Image via Huffington Post Lisa Anne Auerbach, Do Ask, Do Tell, 2010
Image via Huffington Post

Lisa Anne Auerbach's knitted work Do Ask, Do Tell, 2010 is a reference to the US military's standpoint on gay people serving openly, more commonly known as the 'Don't ask. Don't tell' policy. Auerbach believes the scarf does more than address the issue of homosexuality in the military, as it also makes a statement about openness and proudly proclaiming yourself.

Steve Lambert's Capitalism Works for Me!

Steve Lambert, Capitalism Works for Me!, 2011 Image via Creative Time Reports Steve Lambert, Capitalism Works for Me!, 2011
Image via Creative Time Reports

Steve Lambert's travelling piece Capitalism Works for Me!, is a giant LED sign accompanied by ''True" or "False" buttons which passersby can select between. The project, which Lambert first announced in 2011 on Kickstarter, addresses that as a society, we need to take the bold step to discuss the system we art part of. The aim of the piece was to open up discussions about the way capitalism affects us all.

Terry Richardson x Obama

Terry Richardson and Barack Obama in 2013 Image via Konbini Terry Richardson and Barack Obama in 2013
Image via Konbini

Presidential portraits don't come more 21st century than Terry Richardson's photographs of Obama. In 2013, as he emerged as the victor to become the 44th President of the United States, the White House released photographs of Obama taken by controversial photographer Terry Richardson.

Barbara Kruger in The New York Times

Barbara Kruger, For Sale, 2012 Image via The New York Times Barbara Kruger, For Sale, 2012
Image via The New York Times

In November 2012, days before Black Friday, an advert was splashed across an inside page of the New York Times, which read: ''You Want It You Buy It You Forget It." Entitled For Sale, the work highlighted the guilty, impulsive buyer behaviour of a capitalist society, through Kruger's recognisable large white Futura font. In the piece, Kruger captured both the guilt and judgement associated with buy-fast-throw-it-away-fast consumerist culture.

Guerilla Girls ''anti-billionaire'' campaign in Minneapolis

Copyright © 1985, 1995 by Guerrilla Girls Copyright © 1985, 1995 by Guerrilla Girls

This year, as the Guerrilla Girls turn 30, they have planned a takeover Minneapolis in a project blasting wealth discrimination in the art market, coined as their ''anti-billionaire'' campaign.

The Guerrilla Girls Twin Cities Takeover is in partnership with 20 art institutions, including The Walker Art Center which will display protest posters created by the Guerrilla Girls between 1985 and 2012.

In an appearance on the The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, one of the Guerrilla Girls stated: "Art should look like the rest of our culture... you know, unless all the voices of our culture are being heard in the history of art it's not really the history of art."

"For years kings and queens told us what art was all about, now we aspire to a democratic society and art should be about all of us," to contemporary museum acquisitions being governed by a handful of billionaires with "cookie-cutter" collections.''

Zhao Zhao's broken officer sculpture

Zhao Zhao's broken officer sculpture Image via Apollo Zhao Zhao's broken officer sculpture
Image via Apollo

Ai Weiwei's former assistant Zhao Zhao was set to have a solo exhibition in Christopher Mao's New York gallery, when his work was seized by Chinese customs police and never made it out of Tianjin. One of the works which was supposedly confiscated was a broken concrete sculpture of a police officer which featured Weiwei's 2011 arrest date. Zhao created the enormous piece whilst Weiwei was in jail.

It was first shown to the public for just a few days in October 2011 in Beijing, before police demanded it was removed.

Honourable mention: Keith Haring

Behind Haring's dogs, hearts and babies, his work addressed many social issues, including AIDS, nuclear disarmament, racial inequality and capitalism.

In 2014, ''The Political Line'' at San Francisco's de Young Museum, was the first show to examine Haring's work from a social viewpoint, grouping the works by the political issues they tackled.

Dieter Buchhart, the curator of the exhibit, described Haring as one of the "most political artists of his time."

In the same year, as a tribute to Haring, his mural in the bathroom of The NSFW Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center announced it would be reopened in 2015.

In 1982, Haring created an anti-nuclear poster which he distributed 20 000 copies of in a demonstration in Central Park, New York. Three years later, he created his Free South Africa poster, which he handed out at an anti-apartheid demonstration.

Ignorance=Fear, Silence=Death, 1989 Poster for ACT UP Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation Ignorance=Fear, Silence=Death, 1989
Poster for ACT UP
Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation

Free South Africa, 1985 Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation Free South Africa, 1985
Keith Haring artwork © Keith Haring Foundation

As an anti-Republican, Haring created a portrait of Ronald Reagan holding a torch marked with 666.

Perhaps politicians should take note, as art really does speak louder than words.

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