Welcome to the Workshop

Welcome to the Workshop

Sunday, October 20, 2013

A Day With Ai Weiwei

We spent the day exploring the art of Ai Weiwei downtown.

A massive installation of over 3000 bicycles was installed downtown for the all-night Nuit Blanche festival earlier in the month. You can read more about the bikes here, but I've also taken a silly amount of photos of them.
Unbeknownst to us our daytrip coincided with the finish line of a city marathon so we had to wade through blocked streets and thermal blanket-clad athletes to reach the sculpture.

It was worth it!

Ai Weiwei was once chosen by the Chinese government to co-designing the birdnest stadium for the Beijing Olympics. But when he started to criticize the government very publicly and internationally through art and social media he ended up imprisoned for it. Like all brave activists he continues to speak out to this day.
I'm a sucker for this sort of art and found his work at the Art Gallery of Ontario today incredibly moving.
We walked up to the gallery after spending some time with the bicycles. The exhibit was incredible but I only took one photo. Sometimes you need to just be in the moment, photos be damned.

In 2008 the Sichuan Province in China was hit with an earthquake in which over 90000 people died. At least 5000 of these were children who died when government built school buildings collapsed. The government refused to give an account of how many children died and never released their names. Ai Weiwei and his team went door to door in Sichuan and collected the names of the dead from their families. He has created many incredible works of art in their memory. One of which is this backpack snake seen above.
If you are curious about the man and his art I encourage you to watch the documentary released recently.
Never Sorry.

Poppet really enjoyed the art as well, these big installation pieces are so engaging for children. It shows them that anything is possible, no idea is too big. Certainly not in Ai Weiwei's case.
She did manage a little sketching time of her own while we waited to enter the exhibit.

She drew some characters from Adventure Time, if you're unfamiliar. She is a big fan.
Fittingly, we wandered through China town on the way home, stopping to look at some anime books and then finishing up with dumplings at a wonderful Chinese restaurant nearby.
Another great day in Toronto.

And it's going to be 7 degrees during the day this week, time to look for some gloves!

Hope you had a lovely weekend too.

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