Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds Photograph by lucas lai

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Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds

lucas lai

United States


Size: 8 W x 10 H x 1 in

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Art Description

Photography: C-type, Color on Paper.

This photo was taken in Fall of 2010 in the Turbine Hall of the Tate Modern in London. I was working for the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei and was part of his team that traveled from Beijing to London to oversee the installation of his work Sunflower Seeds, which featured over 100 million hand painted porcelain sunflower seeds.

To me this photograph speaks to my relationship to Weiwei, as an inspiring mentor who taught me so much about what it can mean to be an artist of integrity, an artist that creates work not just for him or herself but as a means to communicate ideas that have the potential to really challenge the way people think, thus creating a catalyst for change.

Even though the entire hall was covered in millions of these seeds I wanted to show just a small section, really about a square foot, because to me it was important to bring into focus the individual seeds, all so similar yet each unique, like all of us. I wanted to show not just the seeds but also the border between the seeds and the concrete floor, giving more context and also as a metaphor for how people are always a part of a place, never just floating in space.

The fact that there are just a few seeds at the bottom of the photograph starting to break free was also no accident. When I see these individual seeds I am reminded of how it takes courage to truly be yourself in today's hyper conformist society. Yet it is also this strength to be different that makes us grow and highlights the beauty and uniqueness of every body.

I hang this photograph on the wall of my home, right by the front door. It is the last thing I see before I leave, and it serves as a talisman for me, a source of strength and a reminder to step into the world proud of who I am, ready to make the most of every day.

The work of Weiwei inspires me and I hope that this photo will inspire others as well. Art serves many purposes in life, but for me, if art can help us be the best versions of ourselves, then what else can we ask for?

*Please note that this work is no longer sold as an edition and without a frame, just as a print, to facilitate easy shipment. The photograph simply illustrates my own version of how I had the work framed. The photo is printed on premium matte photo paper. It will also not come with a certificate as it is an open edition work.

**Please also note, if purchasing a print version the actual image will be smaller than the size of the paper, so keep that in mind when selecting the size of the print you desire.


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