Ai Weiwei (born 28 August 1957 in Beijing) is a Chinese contemporary artist and activist who produced a multifaceted array of creative work, including sculptural installations, architectural projects, photographs, and videos.
As a political activist, he has been highly and openly critical of the Chinese Government's stance on democracy and human rights. He has investigated government corruption and cover-ups, in particular the Sichuan schools corruption scandal following the collapse of so-called "tofu-dreg schools" in the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. In 2011, following his arrest at Beijing Capital International Airport on 3 April, he was held for 81 days without any official charges being filed; officials alluded to their allegations of "economic crimes".
While Ai was lauded internationally, the frequently provocative and subversive dimension of his art, as well as his political outspokenness, triggered various forms of repression from Chinese authorities.