Ai Weiwei is a contemporary artist and activist born in Beijing, China. A versatile artist, Weiwei works across mediums including sculpture, photography, architecture and installations. Weiwei’s work is fuelled by his passion for politics, and frequently takes aim at the Chinese Government to raise awareness of human rights abuses.
His works have tackled sensitive issues such as the Syrian refugee crisis and the Sichuan Earthquake of 2008. Weiwei’s outward criticism of the alleged government cover up following this disaster led him to be assaulted by police, and shortly after he was arrested and held for 81 days following allegations of “economic crimes”. Despite his condemnation and attempted repression by the Chinese authorities, his work is celebrated both by art critics and the general public alike. Weiwei has been featured multiple times in theArtReviewPower 100 list that ranks the most powerful figures in contemporary art. His illustrious career has also won him a series of awards such as theLifetime Achievementprize at the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards, the Wall Street Journal’sInnovator Award,and he was shortlisted for Time Magazine’sPerson of the Yearin 2011. His work has been exhibited in major institutions worldwide.