Ai Weiwei is to receive the Bambi award for “Courage”. A conceptual artist and dissident, he uses his films, images, books, installations and architectural projects to tackle human rights violations and fights oppression and censorship. On 16 November 2017, he will be honoured in Berlin for his commitment and courage.
“Ai Weiwei is the most important Chinese artist of our time”, says the Bambi jury. “He focuses on people, and how they interact with others. Ai Weiwei places humanity at the centre of his creations and denounces threats to its existence.”
In 2008, this leitmotif led him to his most impactful action so far. After the catastrophic earthquake in the Chinese province of Sichuan, he openly opposed the cover-up by the authorities and published the names of the 5,335 children who died because their schools were not earthquake-proof. Ai Weiwei suffered reprisals against his work, his employees and his family and became the victim of police violence. “After returning to China, he was imprisoned without charge for 81 days, but he was not intimidated – instead, he upheld his protest”, the jury goes on to explain.
Ai Weiwei brings refugee documentary “Human Flow” to German cinemas
Now, his first film is to be shown in cinemas. “Human Flow” is a documentary about global migration with an artist’s eye. In haunting images, Ai Weiwei shows refugees in all parts of the world and allows them to tell their moving stories. “His film is much more than just an informative documentary. It is a riveting and courageous evaluation of the state of humanity and humaneness at the start of the third millennium AD”, says the Bambi jury. “Human Flow” is released in Germany on 16 November 2017.
Ai Weiwei was born in Beijing in 1957, the son of the renown Chinese poet Ai Qing. He spent 12 years in the USA from 1981 to 1993, discovering conceptual art, pop art and Dadaism. His exhibitions have appeared in venues such as the Haus der Kunst in Munich and the Tate Modern in London, at Documenta in Kassel and at the Venice Biennale. He was forbidden to travel for many years as a result of his activism. Ai Weiwei has been living and working in Berlin since 2015. He is a member of the Akademie der Künste and an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Hubert Burda Media, Corporate Communications
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