If a true artist cannot fully express himself, can he still be called an artist? I’m not trying to be a quasi-philosopher here, but in terms of the recent detention of Ai Weiwei, the answer is yes!
The Chinese contemporary artist was detained on April 3 by Chinese officials at the Beijing airport before he boarded for Hong Kong.
The 53-year-old’s arrest for “economic crimes” is still unclear, but I’m sure this had to do with his outspoken criticism of the China Communist Party in the recent years. For many days, his whereabouts were unclear.
Article 35 of China’s constitution states, “Citizens of the People’s Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration.”
Is that practice being curtailed? Only those in denial would disagree.
In December 2010, he was also prevented from attending the ceremony to award the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize to fellow dissident Liu Xiaobo.
People and institutions like Los Angeles County Museum of Art have been passing around petitions to urge the activist’s release.
“We members of the international arts community express our concern for Ai’s freedom and disappointment in China’s reluctance to live up to its promise to nurture creativity and independent thought,” the LACMA petition read.
Ai was the art consultant of the “Bird’s Nest” Beijing National Stadium of the 2008 Summer Olympics. He is, overall, a key component to a new social and cultural aspect of China. In fact, he is known to use the internet to communicate with the younger generation.
The brave artist is the type to push the envelope in order to get his message of the free flow of information. Hopefully this incident will bring his point across in extending freedom of speech to the Chinese people.
To sign a Change.org petition urging for the freedom of the artist, please go here.