If you’ve been on the Main Green at all today, you probably noticed the 20 white chairs lined up in the middle section of the green. And no, the University didn’t decide to put these out to encourage us to take time out from studying to hang out on the Main Green and relax.
In fact, the chairs are part of a worldwide ‘peaceful protest’ promoting the release of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. The text next to the chairs reads,
“On April 3, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was detained at the Beijing airport while en route to Hong Kong, and his papers and computers were seized from his studio compound. Ai’s whereabouts remain unknown and he has been denied due process under Chinese law.
Ai Weiwei is an internationally regarded figure who has fought for artistic freedom and for freedom of speech throughout his distinguished career, envisioning and shaping a more just and equitable society through his work.
Across the globe, the arts community has launched a reenactment of Ai’s project Fairytale: 1,0001 Qing Dynasty Chairs—an installation which was comprised of 1,001 late Ming and Qing dynasty wooden chairs in Kassel, Germany. Thousands of supporters have gathered outside Chinese embassies around the globe to sit peacefully in support of the artist’s immediate release.
As members of Facture, Brown’s Arts Journal, we hope to recreate a similar demonstration on our campus. 20 Chairs for Ai Weiwei is our way of peacefully protesting the artist’s detainment and supporting the rights of artists to speak and work freely in China and around the world.”
The “peaceful protest” will be up until 5 pm today.