Ai Weiwei

Ai Weiwei

Actor, Director, Producer, Director of photography, Editor


Ai Weiwei is a Chinese contemporary artist, activist, filmmaker and architectural designer. He is best known for his provocative artworks and political activism, which have gained him widespread international recognition.

Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing, China in 1957. His father, the poet Ai Qing, was persecuted by the Chinese government during the Cultural Revolution and the family was exiled to a labor camp in remote northern China. Despite his difficult childhood, Weiwei was surrounded by art and culture, as his father was a renowned poet and calligrapher. After his family returned to Beijing in 1976, Weiwei attended the Beijing Film Academy, where he studied film and photography.

In the late 1980s, Weiwei moved to New York City, where he further developed his artistic style and became heavily influenced by Dadaism and the New York art scene. After returning to China in 1993, he began to explore more traditional Chinese art forms, such as ink painting, calligraphy and ceramics. During this period, he also began to challenge the Chinese government's control over art and culture, and his works began to take on a more politically charged tone.

In 2008, Weiwei was commissioned to design the iconic 'Bird's Nest' stadium in Beijing for the 2008 Olympic Games. His design was met with worldwide acclaim, and cemented his position as one of the leading contemporary Chinese artists. However, his political activism began to draw the ire of the Chinese government, and he was detained and placed under house arrest in 2011. Despite his detention, Weiwei continued to speak out against the Chinese government and became an international symbol of human rights.

Ai Weiwei's works have been exhibited in some of the world's most prestigious galleries and museums, including the Tate Modern in London, the Guggenheim in New York and the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. His art and activism has earned him numerous awards, including the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in 2012 and the Japanese government's prestigious 'Order of the Rising Sun' in 2017.

Ai Weiwei is one of the most influential contemporary artists and activists of our time, and continues to push the boundaries of art and activism. His works are a powerful testament to the power of art in challenging oppressive regimes and advocating for human rights.