Reading the article the first thing that stuck out to me was the way Weiwei defends his work and makes no excuses. To me, this is what being an artist is all about- breaking outside the confines of society to get what is often a serious message across to the public. Weiwei, on stage, said,
“I’m an artist, I’m not a priest,” Ai told the crowd, his voice booming, in response to the critical reactions. “I raise questions, I put myself into those questions, and if I [didn’t] care like everyone else, I would have never become an artist.”
In a time where our speech and expression are being censored more now than ever, the defending of one's place in the world (in art, in helping, in active duty military, etc) is more important than ever. I really liked that Weiwei did this as a message to so many people and also for people.
One of his older pieces, this stuck out to me for the sheer fact of censorship within the country of China and he made his voice heard through this powerful piece. "After the 2008 earthquake in Sichuan, Chinese authorities moved to stifle the flow of information out of the country — including information on the number of schoolchildren who died in the quake. Ai clandestinely collected 200 tonnes of rebar, which is reinforcement steel that school buildings often didn’t have enough of. The straightened bars are arranged in a pattern resembling a seismic wave."