Ai Weiwei

Safe Passage, 2016. Berlin, Germany. Courtesy of Ai Weiwei Studio.

Ai Weiwei (b. 1957) is an artist who resides and works in both Berlin and Beijing. His father, the poet Ai Qing, was denounced by China’s Communist Party in 1958 and his family was sent to labor camps, first near the North Korean border and then eventually in Xinjiang province. They returned to Beijing in 1976 after the end of the Cultural Revolution. Ai studied animation at the Beijing Film Academy, then studied art in New York in the early eighties. Upon returning to China a decade later, Ai advocated for experimental artists by publishing underground books and curating avant-garde exhibitions. He has worked in many media, including sculpture, installation, photography, architecture and film. He is an outspoken advocate of human rights and freedom of speech. He is the recipient of the Václav Havel Prize in Creative Dissent in 2012 and the Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2015.

Last updated: Jan 30, 2017