The Artist Who Roars

by Franke James


Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Heads exhibit in New York City, summer 2011, photo by Franke James

“Without freedom of speech there is no modern world, just a barbaric one,” said Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Alison Klayman, Director and Producer of Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry writes, “I have always believed that the story of the dissident artist Ai Weiwei is not about how censorship stifles creativity, but rather how one artist is able to work around such obstacles. It’s not about the system crushing individual expression, but about the power of an individual in the face of forces greater than himself. One thing is clear — Ai Weiwei’s story could not be possible without the Internet. We cannot imagine an Ai Weiwei without the megaphone of blogs and Twitter, without the ability to communicate instantaneously and connect to like-minded netizens around China and the globe.” See Klayman’s Op-Doc post in the New York Times, “Ai Weiwei: The Evolution of a Dissident.” Her feature documentary on the artist premiered at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival in January 2012. Wired reviewed the film calling it “entertaining, compelling and thought-provoking.”

I happened to be in New York City last summer, and took the photo of the roaring tiger (above), and the animal heads (below), which are from Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads exhibit. Read more about the exhibit: 12 Heads Do the Talking for a Silenced Artist.

Ai Weiwei's Zodiac Heads exhibit in New York City, summer 2011, photo by Franke James


Credits and Links:
Vimeo: Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry TEASER
Klayman quote from Ai Weiwei: The Evolution of a Dissident.
Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac Heads exhibit in New York City: Summer 2011, Photos by Franke James


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