On April 3rd, Ai Weiwei was detained by Chinese officials at Beijing airport for "economic crimes" and there has been no reports on his whereabouts since. Ai Weiwei is no stranger to being attacked by the Chinese government. Recently, a studio he was building in Shanghai was completely demolished without any warning or reason. He is a man that is under constant surveillance by the Chinese Government who sees him as a real threat to social unrest. Here is a very good article that appeared in The Wall Street Journal on April 6th about Ai Weiwei's detaining.
He has not created any works in pink but I have been very moved by this situation that I had to include it here on this weeks posting. On the TED's youtube site, Ai Wei Wei's situation is written about like this; "...for anyone who believes in the power of ideas, of human imagination, it is heartbreaking to see one of the world's great artists shackled in this way." It is perfectly said and in the video, Ai Weiwei speaks of how the Chinese government are trying to keep him quiet. You can see the Ai Weiwei TED video here where the audience gives the man a standing ovation (LOVE!).
Hyperallergic, a blog about contemporary art, is posting liveblog accounts on Ai Weiwei's arrest, while major art museums around the world are asking for signatures with online petitions. Ai Weiwei has a blog which has been tampered with by the Chinese Government through the deletion and censoring of his writings. If you are interested in checking it out, go here. It is in Chinese though (google translator!). The photo below apparently was what broke the government into action.
It shows the artist naked except for a toy horse concealing his genitals. The caption has a double meaning in Chinese, so millions of internet users have seen the six characters interpreted as: "Fuck your mother, the party central committee."
Ai Weiwei has contributed to the Chinese contemporary art scene for the past few decades, having moved back to China after his education in The States in the 1980's. He has created an artist community in Beijing where galleries and studios are occupied by Chinese and international artists. I spent time in this community when I lived in Beijing and it really was my saviour from what felt like a repressed social structure that I found myself surrounded by. Maybe this is why I am passionate about Ai Weiwei as I have experienced first hand what he is fighting so hard to break down and how much time and energy he is putting into fighting for a country he dearly loves.
This is a real tragedy and everyone should look into what they can do to help this situation. I will be posting a picture of Ai Weiwei as my profile pic on Facebook until he is released, as a gesture against this action by the Chinese. You can check out the event I created here. Please press the 'attending' button and 'share' the event with your Facebook friends. I think he would like it if everyone did this on Facebook as he is very much into the power of the internet. So if you do care, please follow suit and make a picture of Ai Weiwei your profile pic and spread the word! Add this link so people may sign the petition too :0)
Check out this video which shows what a truely amazing man he is.
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Peace and love to Ai Weiwei.