Never Sorry

Never Sorry

If you haven't heard of the famously known artist Ai Weiwei let me tell you, he is no ordinary artist, his artworks are "eye-opening," he is truly giving a message and his way of doing it, is through art. I'm really intrigued by this artist because he remains hopeful that through art, change eventually will come. Nevertheless, he has been threatened by the Chinese government, they have surveillance cameras outside of his home and studio, there are people following his every move, he has been beaten by the police and he ended up getting surgery because of it, and he "disappeared" for 81 days until the government finally let him go. Feel like being a voice of human rights? No, thanks... So why go through all this trouble? "Transparency is to Ai Weiwei what liberty was to another generation, he wants to fight for the public, he wants the public to be truly informed."

How did he find his own voice? I think it all started when he went to New York and studied at Parsons School of Design. Moreover, living in New York was eye-opening to Ai Weiwei as he got to experience democracy, "he had the opportunity to live in a culture where the government would put its own self on television on trial and that was revolutionary for him." He started going to protests as he was interested in seeing how democracy works and how people have a voice. 

Furthermore, he went back to China and he still lives there is not like he is living elsewhere complaining about the Chinese government, so we can all agree that it is hard to be a voice in so much oppression, especially when they are using scary methods to shut you up. But despite everything I have mentioned before he is still doing art that calls out the government on things that they are doing wrong. For example, in the province of Sichuan ( Southwest China) in  2008, there was an earthquake in which many students died because of how poorly the government made these schools. Therefore, the Chinese government controlled and censored all the information about the earthquake, so no one really knew how many kids had died. Ai Weiwei wanted transparency on how many kids had lost their lives, so he decided to use his blog as a platform to start an online "citizen investigation team," so he posted " This is my question: Where are those lives?" soon lots of people started volunteering, they started going to the "crisis area" where they would go door to door asking dates of birth, names of the kids who had lost their lives and also they would write down to what school they used to go to. For doing this, many of the volunteers got arrested, their belongings were confiscated, the police kept deleting photos the volunteers had taken, and taking away the list full of names. Nevertheless, volunteers kept going back for the information that had been taken away. "After a year of knocking on doors, we had the names of 5,219 children who had died." Eventually, the blog was shut down as it grew in popularity and the government didn't want people to get informed. 

In the documentary Never Sorry which I strongly recommend you to see, it talks about who Ai Weiwei is, who his dad was, how he is constantly challenging the government and speaking up for people that can't. Also, it shows all the hard work they did to get the list of names, that later on was part of his Munich exhibition. In the documentary they asked Ai Weiwei aren't you afraid?  and he says, of course, I'm afraid, but if you don't act the danger becomes stronger. " It takes generations, but of course it takes a voice to speak out, and I don't want my next generation to have to fight the same thing as I did."  With these responses and the way, he lives his life we see that he would put his life on the line for something he believes in. And that is really empowering, to see how passionate he gets, he firmly believes that "if we don't push back nothing is gonna happen." As a result, he has inspired millions of people all over the world to speak out injustices. 



If you are interested of knowing more about his artworks and documentaries check the sources below.


Documentary Never Sorry

Remembering Sichuan earthquake

13 works to know

List Of Names

Ai Weiwei Instagram

Human Flow (new documentary)

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.