After a recent fabric trip to Paris, we stopped in London on our way back for a couple days to check out London Fashion Week and go to the opening day of the new Ai WeiWei exhibit at the Royal Academy of Arts. Ai WeiWei is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist who is known for being highly critical of the Chinese Government’s stance on democracy and human rights. His work is known to be socially engaging and his story has touched the lives of many.
Experiencing his work for the first time in person really conveyed his provocative message, his effort to expose government censorship, and what he has encountered first hand. The materials he used throughout were reflective of Imperial China (marble, jade and porcelain), and were truly remarkable. The most intriguing aspect of his work appeared to be the many layers that seemed to unravel the closer we looked. The simplistic sculptures and natural objects had an underlying sense of surveillance, darkness and control yet at the same time this overwhelming feeling of power and perseverance carried through community.
We were moved to later learn that Ai WeiWei was ‘allowed’ by his country to go to London and oversee the actual installation of this exhibition. Definitely a cultural phenomenon of our time, this exhibit truly made a lasting impression.