Ai Weiwei: The artwork that made me the most dangerous person in China

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In 2009, the dissident artist created a work to honour the thousands of children who died in the Sichuan earthquake. He recalls how the project, Remembering, angered China’s rulers – and changed his career for ever

  • This is an edited extract from The Start podcast

I trained as an artist in New York, but I never really knew how my art would function in the so-called art world. I didn’t feel part of it and nobody was interested in me. Then in 2008, after I had moved back to China, Sichuan had an earthquake.

It was devastating: more than 80,000 lives disappeared. Many of the dead were young people at school and university. I’d been writing a daily blog – about modern Chinese society, the government and art – but I stopped suddenly. People asked me why but, faced with such a tragedy, I was silenced. I couldn’t find the right vocabulary.

After a year of knocking on doors, we had the names of 5,219 children who had died

Related: Ai Weiwei on the project that awoke his political voice – The Start podcast

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Link : Ai Weiwei: The artwork that made me the most dangerous person in China

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