Plaza Magazine US & International - - TAILORING -

Fa­mous for his large scale in­stal­la­tions and po­lit­i­cal out­spo­ken­ness, the artist Ai Wei­wei was ar­rested in April 2011 when board­ing a plane to Hong Kong. His Bei­jing stu­dio was later raided and his wife and col­leagues seized. Ai Wei­wei was charged with eco­nomic crimes, pornog­ra­phy and bigamy. The ar­rest was part of a larger swoop on dis­si­dents in China which saw po­ets, ac­tivists and other crit­ics of the regime fall vic­tim of threats and mis­treat­ment. Ai Wei­wei had al­ready been phys­i­cally abused by the po­lice in 2009 in con­nec­tion with his in­volve­ment in the af­ter­maths of an earth­quake in south China. The earth­quake killed many chil­dren due to the poor con­struc­tion of school build­ings re­sult­ing from cor­rup­tion. The ar­rest and treat­ment of Ai Wei­wei re­ceived con­sid­er­able pub­lic­ity thanks to Wei­wei's in­ter­na­tional sta­tus. De­spite the fact that China's regime was now scru­ti­nised by the world it would take 81 days for him to be re­leased. Ai Wei­wei has con­tin­ued to talk about China's cen­sor­ship and be­came one of the world's most fa­mous artists. He ranked third on Artre­view's Power 100 in 2011, a list of the most in­flu­en­tial peo­ple in the art world.

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