If you have ever wanted to know about an artist who used his work for activism, then search no further than the documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.”
Called a “Beijing Andy Warhol,” artist and political activist Ai Weiwei continues to fight against government policies, such as censorship, experienced in China.
Weiwei does not identify with a political party, “I’m an independent artist.”
Using the Internet, which he believes can change public opinion, he began writing a blog with which he displayed his critical views of the government. After the occurrence of the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, the artist looked to create a piece of work with the names of the children killed in the collapse of schools.
Finding poor construction of the schools caused the students to be killed in the natural disaster, Weiwei made artwork in memory of the children that displayed their names. In Munich, he released another piece of work related to the accident called “Remembrance,” which used 9,000 backpacks to display the message, “She lived happily for seven years in this world,” a phrase from a mother of one of the children killed in the earthquake.
Weiwei exposed information he received through his own investigation about the Sichuan school’s corruption scandal.
The government then shut down his blog. Weiwei found another social network and took to Twitter to continue expressing his views.
His use of freedom has had its consequences including being abused by a police officer. He required surgery after an injury caused brain swelling. The documentary shows him tweeting pictures of himself in the hospital.
He was also arrested for tax evasion and released in 2011. Although he has dealt with the law, the film shows that his spirit is not defeated and he will continue his work that rebels against the government. Currently there is a play about Weiwei’s incarceration in China playing on the London stage so many will know about the controversial artist.
No matter what the artist does next, he takes his job seriously and leaves viewers with the message, “I think there is a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression.”