Ai Weiwei Puts up Fences to Promote Freedom
The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is internationally recognized for his massive, often provocative art installations. And yet, he's spent most of the past decade under house arrest for his persistent defense of free expression.
But as soon as his passport was reissued by the Chinese government a couple of years ago, Ai embarked on possibly his most ambitious project yet: documenting the global refugee crisis. The result of his cinematic journey, Human Flow, is out this week.
Ai spoke with NPR about his new documentary, which aims to describe what's become the largest forced migration since World War II — 65 million people displaced by war, famine and climate change.
But instead of following the experience of any one group of asylum seekers, Ai takes a more expansive tack, traveling to 23 different countries over the stretch of a year. Employing drone views, the film charts the journeys of divergent populations, including Syrians, Kenyans, Kurds, Palestinians and the Rohingya.
It's a theme that also hits home for the Chinese dissident, having grown up in isolation with his poet father, who was exiled from China.
"Being a refugee is much more than a political status," Ai says. "As a human being, if you sit in front of any of them, if you look in their eyes, you immediately understand who they are."
On seeing himself as a refugee
I was born after the year my father was criticized as an enemy of the people. In China, that's the biggest crime you can have. My father is simply a poet, a very well-known poet. So he had been exiled [and] I grew up with him in a very remote area, the desert actually, in northwest China. So I personally experienced how people have been mistreated and, of course, also really punished, for the crime he never really committed. So I share this kind of sentiment of people who miss everything and lost everything.
On what it means to be a refugee
Being a refugee is much more than a political status. It is the most pervasive kind of cruelty that can be exercised against a human being. By depriving a person of all forms of security, the most basic requirements of a normal life, by cruelly placing that person of inhospitable host countries that do not want to receive this refugee. You are forcibly robbing this human being of all aspects that would make life, not just tolerable, but meaningful in many ways.
On what his film adds to the discussion on the refugee crisis
As a human being, if you sit in front of any of them, if you look in their eyes, you immediately understand who they are. They are just like your brothers or your sisters or your own children or your grandma. It's nothing different. It's only something you can see from their eyes. They have courage. They can give up everything, just for safety or shelter, or to see their children's future maybe will change because they take this action.
On his feelings for people who fear migrants
I have great sympathy for them, for the lacking of knowledge, and as a result, lacking of the understanding of humanity, and also [how they] underestimate their own possibilities to help another person, which can be considered as the highest ritual in many, many religions — just helping someone. Never to say this is too big or it's not my problem. I do have a great, deepest sympathy for people who don't have a clear vision about the world and about themselves, [and] don't understand the value of life.
Repost from Tyler School of Art & Design Website
I stumbled upon this online at (My Alma Mater) Tyler School of Art's website. Chloe was a prior student at CAPA in Philadelphia. She was awarded this award her freshman year at Tyler. It's always great to see young artists doing what they love! Are you thinking about going to Art School? Let's talk!
Student Foundation Award: Chloe Pinero
AUTHOR: Yen Dinh
The Foundation Program has awarded three students one of the three Dean’s Foundation Awards. Students are selected by a faculty jury and representatives from the Dean’s office based on their work. The award is given to students who created excellent work in one of the three areas of the foundation curriculum.
Below is the statement of Chloe Pinero, one of the students who was selected for the award:
The creation of this piece was focused mainly on exploring the figure in large scale as well as creating a sense of drama through use of light. As a self-portrait I have depicted myself in my room, where I spend a good portion of my time. I chose to place myself in front of an open fridge, where a lot of women and girls feel most insecure as a result of social pressures to eat less than men, or not eat at all. The connected gaze with the viewer, the choice of clothing, and the act of drinking milk from the bottle, are efforts to take back power within these societal constructions.
Photo credits to Sam Fritch
Jim Carrey: I Needed Color
Jim Carrey Reveals His Impressive Art Talents in New Mini Documentary: See His Vibrant Paintings
Jim Carrey is a man of many talents.
While most fans know the actor for his comedic work on screen, a new documentary short is introducing the world to Carrey, the painter.
Carrey, who’s been drawing and painting since he was a child, puts his artwork on display in a new documentary short called I Needed Color. In it, Carrey reveals his love of painting — and how it helps him connect to his “inner life.”
“You can tell what I love by the color of the paintings,” he says in the video, posted to Vimeo. “You can tell my inner life by the darkness in some of them and you can tell what I want from the brightness in some of them.”
The actors says he first started painting as a way to cope during an emotionally hard time.
“I sketched all the time, but I didn’t do a lot of painting,” he says. “Suddenly, 6 years ago, at a time when I was trying to heal a broken heart, I decided, ‘Well, maybe I’ll paint.’ ”
And he’s been hooked ever since.
“When I really started painting a lot, I had become so obsessed that there was no where to move in my home,” he says. “Paintings were everywhere. I found myself looking around, it was a really bleak winter in New York and it was just so depressing. And I think I needed color.”
He explains, “I like the independence of it. I love the freedom of it. No one else tells you what you can or can’t do, most of the time. And there’s an immediacy to it.”
Although the short film, directed by David Bushell was posted 2 weeks ago, it recently went viral with celebrities such as LeBron James, Jane the Virgin‘s Brett Dier and Supergirl’s Chyler Leigh tweeting their praise of Carrey’s work.
-People Magazine August 2017