Ai Weiwei’s work removed from the Yinchuan Biennale

photo: Ai Weiwei

The work of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been removed from the the first edition of the Yinchuan Biennale, due to open on the 9 September. The artist published the following statement on his instagram:

I have just learnt that my artwork has been excluded due to my “political sensitivity”. Censorships in communist regions have been present since the existence of the power. Yet it still comes as a surprise to me for an “international art biennale”, with over a hundred international artists and a foreign curator participating, to remove a single artist for the reason of defending human rights and freedom of speech. This shows what we face is a world which is divided and segregated by ideology, and art is used merely as a decoration for political agendas in certain societies.
China is trying to develop into a modern society without freedom of speech, but without political arguments involving higher aesthetic morals and philosophies, art is only served as a puppet of fake cultural efforts.
Therefore I am happy not to be a part of that effort as a political decoration. I believe the real effort we should make, is in defending freedom of speech for our humanism. Only by doing so, art is worth making.

For more on this story, see the New York Times article: