Second Time Around: The Art of Ai Weiwei

“Never Sorry” is one of those films I get excited to watch when it’s released in the theatres and that for some reason or another never get a chance to. As life moves on, I tend to forget about certain films I want to see, art exhibitions I want to visit, concerts I’d like to rock out to, or books I want to delve into. At one point down my busy life, I’ll come across the work of art I once longed for and am again captivated by it saying, “I always wanted to watch/hear/read this!”

It’s always a satisfying moment when life gives me the opportunity to catch up with art, to experience something I wanted to at one point and never could. Sometimes, though, I also sense a bit of remorse when I realize that I could have appreciated the art work more had I experienced it when I first wanted to. “Never Sorry” is such a film; I wish I could have watched it sooner; Ai Weiwei is an artist I wish I could have explored a long time ago. 
 Weiwei’s art is powerful because it comes from his experiences living as a Chinese citizen in a highly censored society and from his opinions about the politics and legal system of that country. Weiwei’s art is an extension of himself; his art is his voice – and what a voice it is! Ai Weiwei makes me proud to be an artist. He reminds me that art is not something some people “choose to do” simply because it’s “cool”, or because someone has the talent to make things “beautiful” (Yes, art can be “beautiful” but that by no means should be its primary focus. There must be meaning, a voice, a stand in a work of art that can then be expressed in a “beautiful” manner). Weiwei teaches some and reminds others that art is and can be a powerful, bold, fierce form of expression. He underlines the idea that an artist can be a force to be reckoned with, that governments, states, and politicians should respect the artist because a film, song, painting, or photograph sent through a tweet, for example, can ignite and move the minds of hundreds, thousands, even millions of human beings.

“Never Sorry” is a look into the life of a great man, a man who is faulted, imperfect, sometimes loud and disobedient, a man who has strong and justified opinions about society, and about the world. He is also a man who happens to be an artist. Yes, I wish I could have seen this film sooner, but as with other situations in my life I have to come to terms with the idea that perhaps this was the time for me to experience Weiwei’s life and art. If that is the case, then I am never to say ‘sorry’ for discovering his art the second time around.