Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has been arrested, placed under police surveillance, accused of tax evasion and even had his studio demolished.
Arguably, because he went in pursuit of justice.
Justice for the loss of over 5,000 lives of children, who died as a consequence of studying in poorly constructed classrooms that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake. Justice for Yang Jia, a man from Beijing, who was executed for murdering six Shanghai police officers, four years ago, as a reaction to not having access to proper legal recourse after authorities accused him of riding an unlicensed bicycle. Justice for his people, whose right to free speech are routinely quashed by the Chinese government.
“ I met him one and a half years ago in Korea,” says artist Riyas Komu, adding that the big difference between Weiwei’s work and that of most other artistes lies in his motivations.
“ Sometimes, one develops art as a language of expression,” he says, adding, “ Ai learned art as a language of survival.” Arranging Chairs for Ai Weiwei is a ten- day screening of four recent videos directed by the artist.
One Recluse is a look at the judicial system in China and is the longest at three hours. The rest are each roughly an hourlong, including Disturbing the Peace, which documents an incident during environmentalist Tan Zuoren’s trial, who was sentenced to five years imprisonment for “ inciting subversion of state power”. “ Ai Weiwei is a very visible figure in the West; this gives him a direct route to an audience,” says artist Simon Liddiment, commenting on why the controversial artist is feared by his government.
The project will also include works by Atul Dodiya, Justin Ponmany, Nikhil Raunak, Riyas Komu, Simon Liddiment, Tushar Joag. Posters from the Chinese Cultural Revolution will also be on display.
At Ground Floor, Clark House, 8 Nathalal Parekh Marg, opposite Regal Cinema, near Woodside Inn.
From: 13 April, 11 am to 7 pm, till 22 April