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Art and Other Things

Interesting art pieces from around the world

Tag Archives: zodiac heads

Ai Weiwei (53) is a well-known artist, recently more because of his arrest as a part of the Chinese government’s crackdown ,in which they arrested 26 people and 30 people went missing. A representative from Human Rights Watch states: “This is an effort by the government to redraw the lines of permissible expression in China, to restrict the most outspoken advocates of global values.”

Many know the story of Ai Weiwei’s arrest but do they know his art?

Famous for revolutionary art that goes against Chinese policies, Ai Weiwei gained his fame. One prominent piece of work was the Sunflower Seeds, an installations at the Tate Modern art gallery. For this particular piece, he installed more than 100 million sunflower seeds made of porcelain with the help of artisans from Jingdazen (he says he probably only made around 3 himself). Visitors are encouraged to touch, walk on, and interact with the seeds. So what is the meaning behind this installation? Ai Weiwei states that in the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, sunflower seeds were shared between people as a symbol of friendship and represented a ‘gesture of human compassion’. The sunflower seeds were a sign of kindness and peace in a period of unrest and uncertainty.

Another piece of work is Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads. These sculptures are a replica (but not exactly the same) of the animal heads that were stolen by the British and French during the Opium Wars. Ai Weiwei’s piece weighs in real and fake while also mixing in elements of nationalism. He states that he wants this piece to be fun as well as relatable to a large audience because everyone is part of the zodiac cycle.

So there you have it! The meaning behind the revolutionary art ideas of Ai Weiwei.

Check out a cool exhibition promoting the freedom of artists, interpretation, and Ai Weiwei here.


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