On a rainy weekday last week I travelled into Soho to catch a glimpse of the latest documentary on Chinese artist, activist and dissident Ai WeiWei. As an artist Ai WeiWei made his name globally after designing The Bird's Nest Stadium for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He later became one of the key figures in the boycotting of the games after the Chinese government started evicting vagrants from the city. This movement marks the beginning of an exceptional film exploring the life and ideas of a man who tirelessly opposes a communist government despite the constant threat of lengthy prison time and personal harm.
It is a documentary that completely evokes the worries and fears of a generation growing in a country of restricted freedom. Ai WeiWei is almost a hero of this culture, the face of an emerging protest that demands change and refuses to bow down to such a regime of suppression. The heroic image of Ai WeiWei is handled superbly throughout, rather than becoming a homage to an icon the film tells his story with an honesty and truth that allows us to see his flaws and mistakes along with the intelligence and bravery that makes Ai WeiWei stand out not only as an artist but a vital dissident of his time.
The artistic works of AiWeiWei are clearly demonstrated and provide the perfect history for a character who clearly wants to challenge tradition. What is particularly interesting about AiWeiWei is the lack of pretence that surrounds him. Even his most abstract works have a serious and honest explanation making him feel easier to connect with as he doesn't pretend to be above his viewer. In fact, quite the opposite, at time he appears genuinely excited about the young generation who follow him on twitter and expand his work beyond his own possibilities.
It is difficult to sell the film to viewers, some may have never heard of Ai WeiWei whilst others may not care for his ideas, but, "Ai WeiWei - Never Sorry" is truly a life affirming tale. Despite the dark events that still occur daily in China, knowing that there are still people ready to fight against such oppression in a modern world is not only inspiring but also brings some hope for a future that is more open and free.
"Ai WeiWei - Never Sorry" is definitely one to check out, it will inspire, enthral and delight anyone who is interested in the problems facing freedom of speech. For more information check out the official website below.
This is the first blog post I've made in some time and with today marking my 22nd birthday it's about time I start turning this blog around. I'll be updating with work, ideas and interests more regularly than ever before and I've never been so motivated to succeed. Keep an eye out for more posts very soon.