Ai Weiwei’s Detention Incites International Protest
If you follow art news, youre well aware that Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained by officials in Beijing on April 3rd, 2011, and remains unreachable by phone. Tension surrounding Weiweis detention continues to escalate, and protesters gathered yesterday in New York, and Los Angeles to voice discontent, pleading for the artists release. Marchers in Hong Kong joined the escalating pressure on April 23rd, after this post was first published.
Prompted by Anne Pasternak of Creative Time, hundreds of New Yorkers recreated Weiweis Fairytale: 1,001 Qing Dynasty Wooden Chairs, gathering near the Chinese Consulate with chairs and “Free Ai Weiwei” signs. Approximately 40 Los Angelenos took a different approach, demonstrating a peaceful dissent against Chinese officials decision to hold Weiwei without revealing his whereabouts.
Today, The Guardian announced that Weiweis lawyer resurfaced. Still, no one is certain where Weiwei is, or what is going on exactly.
Of course, this story invokes international attention and human rights protests throughout the world, because Weiwei is a prominent contemporary artist””including, recent exhibition at Tate Modern, Sunflower Seeds on exhibit through May 2, 2011.
Sunflower Seeds (video link here) consists of 100 million tiny, life-like sunflower seeds distributed throughout Tates massive exhibit hall, installed like pebbles on a playground, or sand on a beach, viewers walk over them. Pebbles and sand, however, exist somewhat naturally, while each of Weiweis sunflower seeds were hand-crafted by Chinese laborers, and are made of porcelain; therefore, each seed is actually distinct however seemingly uniform. Sunflower Seeds zeros-in on the fathomlessness of human consumption via our demand on Chinese workshops. Its absurd on this scale.
And, its equally absurd that Chinese officials are holding Weiwei in detention while concealing his whereabouts.