The dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has decided to take up residence in the UK. By swapping Berlin for Britain, Mr Ai is giving the UK his seal of approval as a vibrant art scene. He stated: “German society has become intolerant of refugees and that he feels like a man without a home.”
Today, due to the political conditions in China, I have again been forced out
He has chosen Cambridge, and the move will also include his partner and 10-year-old son. In 2016, he showed a series of recent works at Downing College, Cambridge.
In an interview with the German daily Welt published Friday, Ai said: “Germany is not an open society. It is a society that wants to be open, but above all it protects itself. German culture is so strong that it doesn’t really accept other ideas and arguments.”
He has accused Europe of “turning its back on refugees and kowtowing to China for economic gain” He added: “Europe was a civilised, modern society which was supposed to uphold humanism, democracy, freedom and human rights. Europe may no longer remain Europe beyond geography.”
“Europeans should not have the privilege to feel any moral superiority,” Ai said. “Asking for gratitude from the most desperately struggling, those afflicted by violence and poverty, makes me sick.” He said, “The rise of populism had left him feeling sidelined in Germany, a country he moved to 2015.
“Most of the unfortunate and chaotic situations were either created by social injustice resulting from colonial history, or unfair exploitation due to globalisation and rampant capitalism,” he added.
Given the sudden lurch to the right with Brexit looming on the horizon, he doesn’t, expect to find perfect conditions in Britain.
The country was “mired in a swamp” over its 2016 decision to leave the EU and turn inward. “The UK has a deep problem. They seem to have lost courage and vision in this fast-changing world,” he said.
The artist, who has long been critical of China, also had a go at Britain for failing the protesters out in force in Hong Kong, a former colony.
Ai said he initially chose Germany after leaving China because it had worked so hard for his freedom but now felt the country had changed and that he was once again an exile.
“Today, due to the political conditions in China, I have again been forced out,” he added.