He’s been forced into house arrest, unlawfully beaten by police, arrested for alleged economic crimes, and had just about every form of communication attempted to be squandered or at very least censored by Chinese government. Doesn’t sound like your average run-of-the-mill artist, does he?
Ai WeiWei, artist and human rights activist, is a truly fascinating contemporary artist with equally intriguing work. Using sculpture, photography and film, WeiWei projects government corruption, scandal, and social injustices into the global sphere. One of my personal favourites is his “Remembering” installation, composed of 9000 backpacks commemorating the children who passed away in shoddily built school in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. The Chinese government neglected to report the deaths of these children and acknowledge their role in these deaths. Through his work, WeiWei challenged the government to be more transparent in their media communications and reporting methodology.
The breadth of Ai WeiWei’s work is his work is truly astounding. Whether it be in such exhibits as “Remembering”, the controversial “Fuck Off“, or “Never Sorry”, WeiWei has proven his mastery of visual communication.
There is a fantastic documentary on Ai WeiWei on Netflix titled “Never Sorry” that I would highly recommend watching. His stories, perspective and artistic process are truly one-of-a-kind.