Often using his art to speak out against the Chinese government, contemporary Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been repeatedly subjected to their strict crackdown on dissidents, police brutality and tough censorship laws; detained at Beijing airport on 3 April, he has not been seen since.
Alison Klayman, an American journalist and documentary filmmaker, stresses the importance of bringing Ai's story to the world, thus making an important stance for freedom of expression and human rights. Since meeting the artist in 2008 she has been filming his life, public and private, following him around the world and watching him simultaneously push the boundaries with the Chinese authorities and flourish as an internationally renowned pro-democracy artist. Klayman is asking for your help to transform her 200 hours of footage into a documentary film, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry.
Ai's art is celebrated for its audacious criticism of authoritarian rule. In his photographic project Study of Perspective (1993/2005) he documented his disdain for authority by giving the finger to the Tiananmen in Beijing, the Reichstag in Berlin and the White House in Washington. And through the So Sorry retrospective at Munich's Haus der Kunst (2009) Ai overtly criticized the thousands of empty promises made by governments in the face of tragedy; in the case of the work Remembering - an installation of 9,000 children's backpacks covering the façade of the museum - the 2008 Sichuan earthquake.
Currently, Ai's Sunflower Seeds installation is on show at London's Tate Modern (ends 2 May), a subtle and effective commentary upon the geopolitics of cultural and economic exchange today.