Linde Cook’s review: ‘Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry’ shows art, politics, freedom in the life of an artist

The most famous Chinese dissident and artist creates a fascinating story in the documentary “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry”.

The film is the perfect way to complete the Film at Figge series, which was a monthly screening at the Art Museum – part of a free program on Thursdays in Figge.

Weiwei’s life could not have been more interesting had it been written by top screenwriters. For three years, director Alison Klayman followed Weiwei, and the result is this film.

If you’ve heard of him, it’s probably because he was one of the designers of the National Stadium, also known as the Bird’s Nest, which was home to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

In the same year, a terrible earthquake in Sichuan province killed more than 69,000 people, including 5,000 children who died in poorly built schools.

Weiwei protested the way the government tackled the disaster and began collecting the names of children who died so it could involve them in an art project. Volunteers helped him along the way.

It is only a part of his extraordinary life, which includes his wife and the son he has from another woman.

You will see what happened when Weiwei, who was physically assaulted, was “kept in custody” because he dared to deal with the Chinese government, which also shut down his popular Twitter feed.

Weiwei is internationally acclaimed, with a global fan base. His life is truly a part of his art, and his story is a reflection of how art, politics and the pursuit of freedom of expression can be one and the same.

3 ½ stars

Rated: R for swear words and adult topics.

Duration: 91 minutes.

At 6:30 p.m., Thursday, May 12, at the Figge Art Museum, 225 W. 2nd St., Davenport.

Watch the trailer here.

Free admission and programs on Thursdays in Figge are sponsored by Chris and Mary Rayburn.

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