Click through the gallery below to see the 12 Ai Weiwei portraits.
Ai Weiwei was the perfect fit for this campaign. In 2015, he was joint recipient of Amnesty’s Ambassador of Conscience Award. As an activist artist who has faced the consequences of speaking up for justice through his artwork, he has a great deal in common with the people whose rights we are writing for this year.
You can read about our 2016 cases and take action on our Write for Rights page.
Ai Weiwei has first-hand experience of the Chinese authorities’ heavy handed tactics used to crack down on political dissenters. In 2009 he was briefly detained and severely beaten by security officials. Again in 2011, following persistent harassment from the authorities, Ai Weiwei was detained for 81 days without charge. His wife and several members of his studio staff were also detained.
During his 81 days in detention, Ai Weiwei was under constant guard:
“They kept close watch over me 24 hours a day. I had to submit a formal request for every action – every need.”
He later recreated a full-size replica of his cell as an artwork exhibited around the world, and he continues to speak out for individuals whose freedom of expression is at risk.
Learn how you too can raise awareness of the individuals in our Write for Rights campaign.