Ai Weiwei and the Power of Art

I use the phrase a lot, "Art is Power."

Here is an example of what I mean.

Ai Weiwei is China's most famous contemporary artist, and co-designer of the "bird's nest" coliseum that we all marveled at during the Beijing Olympics.

He was also detained by the Chinese government on April 3 as he attempted to board a plane for Hong Kong.

He has been beaten, he has had his studio demolished. He still does not know by whom.

Here is a hypnotic video about the making of one of Mr. Ai's exhibitions, for the Tate, called "Sunflower Seeds." It's a little long, but worth it. Notice that the process of making the seeds is a part of the art, the way he employs a whole town of people to make them, the way there are so many of them but each is unique.

Take a look at the pages about this exhibition on the Tate's site, especially Mr. Ai's quotes about it found here.

Ai Weiwei gets in a lot of trouble in China for expressing his views, and for his work. As an artist, he expresses ideas that cannot be expressed on such a scale in any other way.

Art is Power. It enables us to speak, and to create ideas, on a level not possible otherwise.

Within each of us is a voice. Whether or not we are a practicing artist, art gives all of us a way to hear that voice more clearly.

Something this powerful, that affects this many people, should be something that all of our young people see, and try, and understand as they grow up.