Art update

Ai Weiwei at Tate

I attended the opening of Ai Weiwei “Sunflower Seeds” at the Tate Modern on October 11th.  It was extraordinary to walk on the 100 million seeds that were each hand painted over a 2 year period by 1600 Chinese workers.   Read below for the artists personal comments:

“This is one of the most common natural products in China. It even grows in the wild. I grew up in the harsh conditions of Gobidesert, where my family was sent as a punishment [as political dissidents during the Cultural Revolution]. But even there, we always had sunflowers around.There are two reasons why I used them in this piece. First, a political reason: Chairman Mao used to be depicted as the sun, and the mass of people as sunflowers always turning to the sun to show their revolutionary loyalty. Also, sunflower seeds are simply very common — they’re shared during conversations, holidays, before the movies, at weddings. Every household has some. So they have something to do with my memories. At the same time, the individual pieces for this piece were made by different hands of different people over a very long period of time. And it’s such a big quantity, with over 100 million to share with the British public. People can walk on the seeds, pick them up, experience the texture, the sound — the piece is a total environment.” ~Ai Weiwei
Unfortunately, less then a week after the opening, the public is no longer allowed to walk on the installation and must view it from above, due to the ceramic dust created by walking on the porcelain seeds.