"Creativity is the power to reject the past, to change the status quo, and to seek new potential. Simply put, aside from using one’s imagination - perhaps more importantly - creativity is the power to act."
Ai Weiwei (1957-) is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist, whose creative work includes sculptural installations, architectural projects, photographs, and videos. He has been openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights, and has been using Chinese art forms to display the country's political and social issues. In 2011, Ai was arrested at Beijing Capital International Airport for alleged "economic crimes", and detained for 81 days without charge. Ai Weiwei encapsulates political conviction and his personal poetry in his many sculptures, photographs and public works. His later work also focuses on the issue of the global refugee crisis.
Ai Weiwei is one of the leading cultural figures of his generation and serves as an example for free expression both in China and internationally. Among numerous awards and honours, he won the lifetime achievement award from the Chinese Contemporary Art Awards in 2008 and was made Honorary Academician at the Royal Academy of Arts, London in 2011. His human rights work has been recognised through the Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent in 2012 and Amnesty International’s Ambassador of Conscience Award in 2015.
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I was lucky enough to see his exhibition at the Royal Academy a few years ago. It was absolutely extraordinary.