In hopes to raise at least $1 million (£816k) for charities helping vulnerable groups and people displaced during the COVID-19 crisis—including Human Rights Watch, Refugees International, and Médecins Sans Frontières—Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei has created a series of face masks featuring some of his most iconic artworks.
The artist made a statement on Instagram accompanied by a video saying: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a humanitarian crisis. It challenges our understanding of the 21st century and warns of dangers ahead. It requires each individual to act, both alone and collectively.”
Only three of the designs, which include “Mask with Middle Finger” and “Sunflower Seeds”, will be sold individually, unlike the rest that can be bought in sets of four or 20, referencing state control or freedom of expression, using imagery of a surveillance camera and handcuffs.
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The COVID-19 pandemic is a humanitarian crisis. It challenges our understanding of the 21st century and warns of dangers ahead. It requires each individual to act, both alone and collectively. It is not enough to reflect on the new conditions and while away the time without fully inhabiting this moment. Actualizing one’s inner need to participate gives life during COVID a new meaning. This is why I am always involved. I refuse to accept any part of life as a complete loss. Our small individual act becomes powerful when they are part of the social response. An individual wearing a mask makes a gesture; a society wearing masks combats a deadly virus. And a society that wears masks because of the choices of individuals, rather than because of the directive of authorities, can defy and withstand any force. No will is too small and no act too helpless. —Ai Weiwei Sales of Ai Weiwei MASK will benefit equally Human Rights Watch, Refugees International, and Médecins Sans Frontières. Producer: Ai Weiwei Studio @aiww Curator: Alexandra Munroe @alexandramunroe Advisor: Greg Hilty, Lisson Gallery @lisson_gallery To purchase and for more information, please visit https://www.ebay.com/aiweiweimask #aiweiweimask #oneformany