Ai Weiwei (pinyin: Ài Wèiwèi; born 28 August 1957) is a Chinese artist and activist, who is also active in architecture, curating, photography, film, and social and cultural criticism. Ai collaborated with Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron as the artistic consultant on the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympics. In addition to showing his art he has investigated government corruption and cover-ups. He was particularly focused at exposing an alleged corruption scandal in the construction of Sichuan schools that collapsed during the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. He intensively uses the internet to communicate with people all over China, especially the young generation. On 3 April 2011 police detained him at Beijing airport. His studio in the capital was sealed off, and his staff interrogated pursuant to official allegations of "economic crimes". On 20 April Ai was appointed Visiting Professor of the University of the Arts in Berlin.
Life and work.
Ai Weiwei's father was Chinese poet Ai Qing, who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist Movement and in 1958 sent to a labour camp in Xinjiang with his wife, Gao Ying. Ai Weiwei was one year old at the time and lived in Shihezi for 16 years. In 1975 the family returned to Beijing. Ai Weiwei is married to artist Lu Qing.
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