Sunday, February 24, 2013

Who is Responsible?

I have posted on the artist Al Weiwei twice already and from all the interesting examples in the very limited exhibit that is currently touring this country, I will select just one more.  He did some beautiful works in wood and those I will save for another time, perhaps, when the writer in me is looking for something to say.  These next examples are about children, corruption and government ... in somewhat that order.  The photo below is one of my children when they were very small with some friends in Indonesia.


The photo above is distorted because this post is about an earthquake and children.  We had earthquakes in Indonesia, but this is about an earthquake in China.


This description above is blurred because in most museums you may not use a flash and therefore it was taken in dark light requiring a steadier hand than I have.  But since this is about earthquakes, I think a bit of shaken text is appropriate.




This rebar in the photos above of the artwork came from the actual schoolhouses that collapsed like houses of cards after the earthquake.  Many Chinese parents lost their children due to schools built with very poor quality materials and questions about corruption and kick backs were made.  The metal bars are arranged a little like a river and seem to have waves across its surface like the waves of an earthquake.


Chinese officials remained in denial about how many died, and about how the poor construction of the schools contributed to these deaths. The government refused to release the names of the children.  Thus Weiwei made his artistic protest.  An entire wall in the museum lists the names of the children who died and an audio track is run in this room saying each their names.

You can learn more about "Al'  here  <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/blog/2012/12/on-the-newshour-ai-weiwei.html>  and here <http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/2012/12/dissident-artist-ai-weiwei-not-optimistic-about-new-chinese-leadership.html>  You will need a kleenex.

13 comments:

Lynilu said...

That piece struck me as possibly having the impact I felt when visiting the Martin Luther King Museum in Atlanta. Wow.

Now breathe again.

Friko said...

Ai Weiwei is famous all over the world, appreciated and feted. Not in his own country.

‘The prophet is without honour in his own country’. It is often thus, not only in China.

Could things change?

I love the examples of Weiwei’s art you have reproduced here.

Mage said...

Those images just stuck in my mind.

Stephen Hayes said...

A powerful artistic statement that serves up social commentary in a land that doesn't fully appreciate social commentary.

SueAnn Lommler said...

What a beautiful piece
Thanks for sharing this wonderful artist.
Hugs
SueAnn

Kay said...

That's a very interesting piece and representative of a horrible time. Earthquakes are so scary. I felt my first one right here in Hawaii and it was truly startling.

Chris said...

I agree with Friko especially. Thank you for sharing this artist in your posts.

Olga said...

Very powerful...and no less tragic and reprehensible than recent shootings. The weather cannot be changed, but the corruption behind the collapse of the school might have been challenged somewhere along the line.

ladyfi said...

Weiwei does lovely art! And these are wonderful.

ladyfi said...

Weiwei does lovely art! And these are wonderful.

Hattie said...

This is amazing! How to visualize such a huge catastrophe? I often think of that in connection with China, where vast disasters are experienced by individuals who feel so isolated with their tragedies.

Barbara Shallue said...

Art is an expression of courage as he proves with this piece. So sad. Thanks for sharing this.

Kerry said...

You have clearly "gotten" Ai Weiwei. Excellent post.