Thursday, May 19, 2011
Over the course of 24 hours, artists, civic officials, and community members will sit to protest the detainment of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. Ai was taken into custody by Chinese authorities on April 3rd. The Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego is hosting the sit-in, which began at 11 a.m. on Thursday.
The reasons for Ai Weiwei's detention remain unclear. The Chinese government cites "economic crimes," though many speculate his arrest is retaliation for the artist's criticism of the Communist Party.
Ai Weiwei is probably best known as the artistic director for the Olympic stadium in Beijing, known as the Bird’s Nest.
Kathryn Kanjo is the chief curator at MCASD. She says she was encouraged by the number of San Diegans willing to participate in the sit-in. "I do like that this is made up of 48 individuals taking one hour of their day to form something larger."
Artist Wes Bruce participated in the sit-in. He says he looked at photos of Ai Weiwei right before his hour-long shift.
"What I really wanted to focus on was keeping why I was there at the forefront of my mind and to not wander with my thoughts and drift to other things."