Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly
A very absorbing and valuable documentary that movingly puts Ai’s work into personal context.Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
Expanding on @Large, the exhibition that Chinese artist and dissident Ai Weiwei created on Alcatraz Island in 2014 while he was under a travel ban in Beijing, this documentary offers an inside look at an extraordinary public art project as well as a glimpse of the personal backstory behind the artist’s fierce advocacy for human rights. Directed by exhibition organizer Cheryl Haines, the film takes its title from Yours Truly, an installation in the exhibition that invited Alcatraz visitors to write postcards to prisoners of conscience around the world. This seemingly simple gesture—inspired by Ai’s memory of his father, poet Ai Qing, receiving a postcard that helped him endure his detention in a labor camp—would have a powerful impact, prompting thousands of people to send personal messages of solidarity and hope to those incarcerated for their beliefs. Interviews with former political detainees, including Chelsea Manning, CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, Egyptian activist Ahmed Maher, and Ai himself, provide testaments to individual courage and the role of art in the fight for social change.