Jun 9, 2011

Ai Weiwei: the dissident artist

Hari Kunzru on Ai Weiwei

He filled Tate Modern's Turbine Hall with sunflower seeds and campaigned against corruption. Then last month China's most provocative artist disappeared.

protesters in Ai Weiwei masks
'If he is not free then we are not' ... pro-democracy protesters in Ai Weiwei masks.
Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP Photo

As I write, the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been in detention for 51 days and 6 hours. I know this so precisely because someone who goes by the handle "loveaiww" has placed a counter on the web. On the door of my flat is a poster with a silhouette of Ai, made from a photograph taken during a period when he was interested in getting (and giving) weird haircuts. His round head is surmounted by two long tufts of hair, like horns. It looks wild, comic. "Weiwei works here" says the text.

We are all Ai Weiwei, is the message. Where we are, he is too. And wherever he is, we are with him.

Read the original text in The Guardian

Published by The Guardian on Satuday 28 May 2011

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