Chinese Artist and Dissident Ai Weiwei Models Authenticity and Response-aibility
Controversial Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei serves as a powerful role model for embodying both authenticity and response-ability.
In a recent interview published in Utne Magazine, he speaks of lack of engagement and responsibility in China:
“The fundamental problem is not that there are limits on voicing different opinions here. The problem is that the whole society is dying through lack of responsibility or involvement. The government should be leading in generating this sense of active responsibility. It should be elected by the people and act according to the will of the people.”
Ai finds creative and fiery ways to communicate the truth, while playing with art, politics and censorship in the new China. Though he is interviewed widely by international and Chinese journalists, he is never quoted by the controlled media, and so he also maintains his own blog to express freely his thoughts:
“I retain a simple premise in mind: My blog is an extension of my thinking–why should I deform my thinking simply because I live under a government that espouses an ideology I believe to be totally against humanity? And this so-called communist ideology is totally against humanity. Over decades, many generations of people in this nation have been hurt by this: Many are dead, many have disappeared, and many have been damaged, whether they are conscious of this reality or not. So my position is not just one person’s strange idea–these are our lives and we live in this part of the world. People [elsewhere] are not going to take a position–they have other concerns. So for me this is not a responsibility: It is part of life. If you live in self-punishment or self-imposed ignorance or lack of self-awareness, it genuinely diminishes your existence. Self-censorship is insulting to the self. Timidity is a hopeless way forward.”