Ai Weiwei: ‘To Make Some Change Requires Some Level of Fighting’

(Video link here.) This powerful short film (with unnecessary and slightly irritating music) was made for Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei’s exhibition at The Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens last summer. He set up a studio on the island of Lesbos to create art that will draw attention to the refugee crisis in Greece which he addresses pointedly in the film. His words goes far beyond that specific situation to present a challenging and clarifying view for navigating our world and lives.


I think, in general, fighting is a symptom of life. In every level or life —or aspect of living species—the initiative to make some change requires some level of fighting.

I don’t feel I bear responsibility because I am an artist; it’s my profession. I do what I can and I bear the responsibility and I take the consequence. I don’t know where it leads me, which is okay.

What I have always been involved in is human rights, about the human struggle and freedom of speech. Those kinds of values are not given by anybody. It always comes through fighting and struggle. Because somebody has to defend it.

And also, if just one person defends it, it benefits everybody.

We live in reality. We’re not living in some sort of fantasy about ourselves. We’re just a weak individual, which I think is quite a vulnerable species that’s still alive.

And also, that time is countable.


We’re asking ourselves what form that might take in our own lives.


Explore some of the exhibition works in detail here.

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