Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly

"One of the great films of the year! A near-perfect look at Weiwei’s art installation that took place on Alcatraz Island. Truly magical...a must-see!"


Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly

In the 1950s, Ai Weiwei's father, a dissident poet, received an anonymous postcard while in exile. This one small act of humanity had a profoundly moving and transformational impact on both father and son. In Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly, Weiwei elaborates on this meaningful event, revealing candid details about his childhood, including years of privation on the edge of the Gobi Desert. The years in the Gobi, along with Weiwei's 2011 detention by Chinese authorities, became the inspiration for his revolutionary exhibition @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz, a monumental presentation of new artworks addressing the struggle for fundamental human rights.

In @Large, Weiwei - though still prevented from traveling abroad - transformed Alcatraz, America's most notorious prison, into a powerful expression of socially engaged art, including portraits made from LEGO bricks of prisoners of conscience from around the world. Throughout the film, we discover how personal these issues of injustice and incarceration are for Ai Weiwei and the extent to which he wove his family's experiences into the exhibition.

For the final piece of the exhibition, Weiwei, inspired by his father's story, invited visitors to write messages of hope to imprisoned activists using postcards imprinted with the national birds and flowers of the countries where the prisoners were being held. The project was named Yours Truly and by the time the exhibition ended, over 90,000 postcards had been sent across the globe. Then something even more astonishing happened: prisoners and their families began writing back!

Ai Weiwei: Yours Truly follows these postcards around the globe, from Alcatraz to Bahrain, Washington D.C., Cairo and beyond, as former prisoners of conscience - and the families of those still detained - reveal the comfort they found in messages from people they would never meet.
Not Rated
Cheryl Haines
Ai Weiwei
Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian

In 2014, Chinese artist Ai Weiwei still had his passport withheld by the Beijing authorities, denying him foreign travel. While he was pondering a new exhibit about political prisoners, Ai was contacted by the San Francisco gallerist and curator Cheryl Haines with a proposal: she had the connections ...

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