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Recreation Of "Water Lillies"- With Legos? (Writing based on newspaper article by the NFK readers)

What happened:

Ai WeiWei, son of a famous artist, has recently recreated Claude Monet’s famous oil painting; Water Lillies 1914-26 using legos. Using 650,000 legos, Ai WeiWei managed to make a colossal, 15 meter long painting- one that covers an entire wall of a museum called the Design Museum, located in London. Although Monet’s ‘water lilies’ have been an inspiration and starting point for Ai WeiWei, Mr. Ai has added some of his style and experiences into this gigantic piece of artwork- for a start, it has brighter colors than that the original, as well as having a dark, looming doorway in the corner of the artwork, representing the hard past Mr. Ai had to endure when he and his father had to leave their home country China in he 1960’s. Mr. Ai is known for his creativity, determination, and persistence.


The Question:

What do you think it would be like to grow in a country where you couldn’t express your ides freely? How do you think that might affect your art?


This is a mixed feeling question, for I do live in China right now. However, it can be said that I, as an foreigner living here, do not have the same strict laws apply to me as other people may have. I go to an international college, so I do not know what the teachers are like in China.

But let’s just pretend that I am in a place where I couldn’t say anything, or do anything without the permission of the government. As a child who was encouraged to say their thoughts freely, I am sure I would be quite stuck, and trapped in that world, with no freedom. But then, if I had not known a life different to this, would I have complained? For example, no one hardly moans about a cat’s existence- it’s just been there, as always. If you don’t know anything different from what you have been brought up in for your whole life, it is hard to complain about its existence, for you don’t know the other solution.

But just for this moment, for if I ended this there it would be fairly boring, let us imagine that I had been forced to move into this ‘country’ and now I lived there, dreaming on about the days of freedom.

I would probably feel stuck there. I couldn’t do anything- in which had the right to do in my former country. I would feel like I was missing something in my life, or stuck under this sticky glue, unable to escape from its strict hands.

Firstly, I would try to banish the thoughts of negativity, and simply focus on what I really needed to do. But then, after a while, a small rebellion would form in my head. Why should I be here, stuck and forgotten? Should I lead all the people who have these thoughts like me, into battle? My ideas deserve to be set free. These are not inappropriate or bad ideas, they are simply my feelings, in which I feel the urge to express.

However, would I be willing enough to lead myself into battle? The other side is strong. I am on my own. Will I be able to conquer my fear and attack? Perhaps not. Perhaps I will just live here wasted. But the thought of that would completely change my mindset from the former one. The former one was one of innocent ignorance- but now I had the thought of rebellion, would I ever be able to live it down?

Would I become mad, living in this crazed belief of rebellion, but never managing to do so?

Alas! Even writing this piece of writing would be forbidden, and with no thoughts, no writing, no talking, no expressing my feelings, what would I be? As I write this piece I keep thinking of my life in that place like a bare prison cell- nothing, just occasionally food and walls surrounding me. Of course, the situation in real life is not as terrible as that, nor all my pains be that terrible, but the more I endured being silent after knowing what people were doing was wrong would drive me into a belief of that strong. Even my artwork, perhaps done secretly under a hidden basement, show the terrible state I am in, exaggerated to no means in order to show my fury, and my desperation piling over it, to free all my caged thoughts. It would run freely, unlike in the daytime, where my work was strictly eyed by the government. And that’s why Ai WeiWei can express so much. He has all the crushed and squished feelings come out in his artwork all together.

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