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Ai Weiwei´s Art and Censorship Essay

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Ai Weiwei’s art vs. Censorship
“I don’t want to be part of this kind of denying reality. We live in this time. We have to speak out” (Klayman). Ai Weiwei is an internationally known Chinese artist as well as activist, and his motivation and determination can be summed up by this quote. In all of his pieces, Weiwei critically examines the social and administrative issues facing China today. Many of his works exhibit multiple themes that can be interpreted in various different ways. This lends itself to the universal appeal of his art and makes it a more effective medium of conveying his messages to viewers. Ai Weiwei’s activist artwork—and activist artwork in general—is important to society because it effectively forces the viewer to engage in a self-reflective process that makes the viewer critically examine his or her own beliefs and world. Nevertheless, censorship greatly hinders the dissemination of the critical and thought provoking messages of Ai Weiwei’s art and makes his artwork less effective. In order to gain a better understanding of the relationship of Ai Weiwei’s activist art and the Communist Party’s subsequent censorship, I will examine Ai Weiwei’s influential childhood, his specific brand of activist artwork, the censorship of the Chinese government and the effects of censorship on the effectiveness of Ai Weiwei’s art.
Much of Ai Weiwei’s activism and artwork has been influenced by his experiences growing up. Ai Weiwei lived through a tumultuous time in Chinese history, with the Cultural Revolution, the Tiananmen Square Massacre and the Opening Up of China by Deng Xiaoping. Ai Weiwei’s father, Ai Qing was a famous poet during the Cultural Revolution. However, he was targeted in the Anti-Rightist campaig...


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...both sides of the story’.
Ai Weiwei’s activist art is effective in disseminating his ideas and forcing people to examine their lives, however, its effect is reduced by the heavy censorship of the Chinese government. The positive effects of Ai Weiwei’s art can be seen by examining and analyzing both Remembering and Sunflower Seeds. However, their presence in Europe rather than China is rather discouraging. Censorship is more damaging than beneficial to activist artists like Ai Weiwei, however, it does not mean that activist art is useless. The reaction of authorities to Ai Weiwei’s art and his kind of “immunity” that comes from his fame shows that his art is effective. His ideas might take time to spread; they might only change one individuals mind at a time. However, over time like the sunflower seeds, individuals can join together and become a great force.



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Ai Weiwei´s Art and Censorship Essay - Ai Weiwei’s art vs. Censorship “I don’t want to be part of this kind of denying reality. We live in this time. We have to speak out” (Klayman). Ai Weiwei is an internationally known Chinese artist as well as activist, and his motivation and determination can be summed up by this quote. In all of his pieces, Weiwei critically examines the social and administrative issues facing China today. Many of his works exhibit multiple themes that can be interpreted in various different ways. This lends itself to the universal appeal of his art and makes it a more effective medium of conveying his messages to viewers....   [tags: art, world, activist, beliefs] 1742 words
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