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Artist Recreates Famous Painting in Legos

By: Kai Wang

Ai Weiwei is a renowned artist who uses art to fight injustice and human rights violations.

Born on August 28, 1957, in Beijing, China. Ai Weiwei is the son of a famous poet. Having disagreed with the views of his father, the Chinese government sent Ai and his father to live in northwest China as a punishment. Thus, Ai grew up in an underground dugout in the 1960s.

“Our world is complex,” says Mr. Ai. Because of this, he says it’s important for people to find their own way of talking about their experiences. Ai uses his art to talk about experiences as well as a platform to draw people’s attention to situations where others are being mistreated.

One of Ai’s recent works had him rework one of Claude Monet’s most famous oil paintings. Claude Monet was a French Painter who painted hundreds of waterlily paintings. The paintings depict his flower garden at his home in Giverny. One of his most famous, Water Lilies 1914-26 is a painting made of three panels. In total, the panels measure almost 42 feet long.

Ai’s version is called Water Lilies #1. Ai recreates much of Monet’s original painting but instead uses Lego bricks. Although Ai uses Water Lilies 1914-26 as a template, he adds much of his own touch. Not only are the colors stronger, but there is a dark doorway on the right side of the piece. This door represents the underground hiding place where Ai and his father lived when they were forced to leave their home in China.

Ai Weiwei’s art shows how powerful art can be in helping people learn about and fight against unfairness and violations of people’s rights. We learn that art has the ability to change the world for the better.

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