I recently came back from a Trip from San Francisco, and while I was there I went to Alcatraz, which I have been to before, the first time I fell in love with it, I wanted to move on to the Rock, but this time I actually went to see Ai Weiwei's instillation piece that is in a couple of buildings and areas that aren't usually open to the public. Many of his pieces depicted the horrible nature of countries that can't see paste their very traditional belief system and how they have imprisoned or exiled people for stating what they believe, he him self wasn't even able to make it to his own show, since he is stuck in china. However horrible nature of the topics he was commenting on with his artwork it all was so beautiful and made you smile, much like "99 Luftballoons" song by Nena, which actually has a deeper meaning of being a protest song. But Nena's song, not only had an upbeat tune, but it was also in another language, leaving most of the US to think otherwise in the beginning.
Two of Ai Weiwei's pieces at first glance looked like traditional Chinese art, but when you took a closer look you could see that was not the case, they had specific details or were placed in a way that provoked to think about them in a different way. For instance the Traditional Chinese Dragon Kites, are commenting on how they are being restricted while still having the idea of being able to move freely as most kites do, but this one is even more imprisoned, being stationed in an old prison. The Blossom, which is made up of porcelain flowers reference the Chinese history of ceramic artwork and has two possible depictions either it could be referring to Chinas Hundred Flowers Campaign that took place in 1956 (allowed freedom and ideas to flow) or the idea of the inmates receiving flowers, as this instillation was situated in the old infirmary section of the prison.
But my favorite piece was the Lego portraits of those 175 people who have been imprisoned or exiled from their own country, they were just so beautiful and intriguing to take something as simple and playful as legos and give them a purpose and a way to get across an idea. Each portrait has a description that went along with them, to give you an idea of what they have gone through and where they are located around the world!
At the end of the Alcatraz tour you were able to send postcards to those people in Prison, which was awesome. I personally felt that some of them might not understand what your saying in english, so I just drew a few pictures, cause I think everyone would enjoy getting some mail and a drawing! However, now that I think of it a lot of them were writers, so they actually may know English pretty well, either way... I participated haha.
Here's a throwback to pick you up midday!