Ai Weiwei Unveils New Projects Focusing on Migrant Issues

He’s considered a threat in his home country that he was imprisoned for almost three months. During his arrest, was beaten up so severely that he had to undergo a medical procedure to stop his brain from bleeding.

Ai Wei Wei. All photos courtesy of the artist’s studio.

Yet artist/activist Ai Weiwei, once called the “most powerful artist in the world,” refuses to be silenced. And this fall, he unveils two projects that will give voice to refugees. First is “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors,” a New York exhibition where Weiwei will install fences in the city’s different boroughs. The project serves to commemorate the 40th anniversary of organizer Public Art Fund, and aims to create awareness among New Yorkers about the need to unite and contribute to the community.

The fence

The fences will appear from October 12 to February 11 next year, and in areas such as the Essex Street Market on the Lower East Side, The Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art on Astor Place, and JCDecaux bus shelters in Brooklyn. (A fence will also appear underneath the Washington Square Arch and will displace its yearly Christmas tree. The Washington Square Association, which manages the area, has protested against the exhibit with no success.)

The art piece as it will appear under the arch

The Berlin-based Weiwei lived in New York in the 1980s where he studied at the Parsons School of Design. In a statement, he says, “The fence has always been a tool in the vocabulary of political landscaping and evokes associations with words like ‘border,’ ‘security,’ and ‘neighbor,’ which are connected to the current global political environment. But what’s important to remember is that while barriers have been used to divide us, as humans we are all the same. Some are more privileged than others, but with that privilege comes a responsibility to do more.”

The artist is also unveiling his maiden documentary titled Human Flow, which will bring audiences from the refugee shanties of Europe to the imposing border fence that divides the United States and Mexico. The film will be released on October 13 in the United States and in December in the United Kingdom.

Watch the trailer below to know more.

Share this Article