Art Ai Weiwei
Ai Weiwei is an artist that has strong political foundations and is probably more important to the west for this than his art. His art is purely the medium that sends the message. They are not unique in style so in response to the artist there are no surprises.
His art is a way for him to politicise the issues that he believes are the problems with Chinese society and the political establishment and its human rights record which he has been held in detention for by the Chinese government in the past. I suppose this comes with the territory and one which he has accepted as part of his openly spoken views.
His art is also a response to Chinese craftsmanship past and now which has a long history. Much of what we know of Chinese craftsmanship was originally brought over by the British East India Company in forms of lacquer, pottery and tea etc.
In return the British East India Company returned opium from India (which was then part of the Empire) to China bringing problems of addiction to the Chinese continent. So it is of no surprise the Chinese little trust western ideology and politics as they have had to deal with it for a long time. As the Native American said ‘White man has forked tongue!’
I am sure Ai Weiwei is right to stand up to the political establishment in China but we to should take a leaf out of his book and stand up to our own political establishment and shout out at its behaviour for the last forty years particularly which I might add we have been rather quiet on apart from the odd march to protest the western political establishment has had a pretty easy ride. There are very few British artists I would say use their art to send a political message and those that do are kept well out of main stream media and galleries.
The west speaks highly of its democracy in its countries but we have less democracy now than we ever had due to neo-liberalism which is hell bent on undermining real democracy and society and replacing it with a feudal system. Yet the majority of people seem happy to follow along like dogs on a lead and when they realise there mistake it will probably be too late.
If you are interested in bringing politics to art then I would say learn from Ai Weiwei because he is at the top of his game in this arena. Learn from him you have to make it as public as possible and shout out don’t whimper if you want to be heard. The Royal Academy will be showing Ai Weiwei’s work until the 13th December so there is still a few weeks left to pay a visit.