Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Art and activism in China

There's an article at SpiegelOnline about a contemporary of Ai Weiwei. Like Ai Weiwei, Zhao Zhao is both an artist and an activist, and the latter proclivity has drawn the ire of Chinese authorities. Ai Weiwei is all too familiar with this type of treatment.

China doesn't like Zhao Zhao. The article recounts some of the oppression he's had to endure, and it's painful to read. China's control-mad rulers really can't handle hippies, which makes sense given the suffocating nature of Chinese governance. I found the short article interesting. Check it out.

It's great that artists can speak so effectively to power. Painters, sculptors and writers have the power to reveal what the authorities desperately want to hide. It has always been this way.

Here's a link to Zhao Zhao's work. I confess I don't get it. On the other hand, note that the fourth image is the one referred to in the article: a painting of Ai Weiwei in an interrogation situation. This image is considered highly volatile in China.

Note: The article spells his name two different ways. Couldn't confirm it either way, so I went with Zhao Zhao.