The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is not particularly optimistic about the right to freedom of expression for artists and writers around the world. Nor does he think the art world is helping much. But Ai seems happy to keep up the fight ahead of the unveiling of a new work commissioned by the human rights organisation English Pen, which will be unveiled at London’s Southbank Centre tomorrow for the English Pen 100 festival of talks by renowned writers covering topics such as freedom of speech and writing in exile.
Speaking from his home in the Portuguese countryside, where the artist has spent most of the pandemic, Ai spoke about the need to protect artists’ ability to speak freely, the growing repression in Hong Kong, and how imprisonment in 2011 inspired him to begin writing his forthcoming memoir. Continue