Your own acts tell the world who you are and what kind of society you think it should be.

— Ai Weiwei

The most cheerful Ai Weiwei quotes to discover and learn by heart

A small act is worth a million thoughts.


The world is not changing if you don’t shoulder the burden of responsibility.


The purpose of art is the fight for freedom.


I always want people to be confused, to be shocked or realize something later.


Stupidity can win for a moment, but it can never really succeed because the nature of humans is to seek freedom. Rulers can delay that freedom, but they cannot stop it.


If there is no freedom of expression, then the beauty of life is lost.

Participation in a society is not an artistic choice, it’s a human need.


Being an artist is more of a mindset, a way of seeing things;

it is no longer so much about producing something.


Whenever there is injustice, there is tension.

But in China it is very hard to release your anger unless you burn yourself or you jump from a bridge. In a society where there is no freedom of the press, it is difficult for victims to be noticed.


For artists and intellectuals today, what is most needed is to be clear about social responsibility, because that is what most people automatically give up. Just to protect yourself as an individual is very political. You don't have to march on Tiananmen, but you do have to be clear-minded, to find your own means of expression.


Censorship is saying: "I'm the one who says the last sentence.

Whatever you say, the conclusion is mine." But the internet is like a tree that is growing. The people will always have the last word – even if someone has a very weak, quiet voice. Such power will collapse because of a whisper.


Imagine one day, the hateful world around you collapses.

And it is your attitude, words and actions that put an end to it. Will you be excited?


If my art has nothing to do with people's pain and sorrow, what is 'art' for?


About Ai Weiwei

Quotes 324 sayings
Profession Contemporary artist
Birthday August 28, 1957

I have to respect my life, and free expression is part of my life.

I can never really silence myself.


If there is no free speech, every single life has lived in vain


Art should live in the heart of the people.

Ordinary people should have the same ability to understand art as anybody else. I don't think art is elite or mysterious.


No outdoor sports can be more elegant than throwing stones at autocracy;

no melees can be more exciting than those in cyberspace.


The tragic reality of today is reflected in the true plight of our spiritual existence. We are spineless and cannot stand straight.


China restricts the society's freedom of speech.

The Communist Party imposes these limits because it lacks confidence towards the future and has no ideals. Nowadays, China is experiencing the detrimental effects of such decisions. Its citizens have no creativity.


I am very much interested in the so-called useless object.

I mean, it takes perfect craftsmanship, beautiful material carefully measured and crafted, but at the same time it’s really useless.


Technology is a liberation. I think the information age probably is the best thing to happen to the human race in human evolution. Now you have the equal opportunity to equip yourself through information and knowledge and express yourself as an independent mind.


Every day I'm learning something new from the practice. It's very rewarding.


We should also leave behind discrimination, because it is narrow-minded and ignorant, denies contact and warmth; and corrodes mankind's belief that we can better ourselves. The only way to avoid misunderstanding, war and bloodshed is to defend freedom of expression and to communicate with sincerity, concern and good intentions.


The so-called culture nowadays is only a fake one with a superficial front. It is an empty lie.


Self-censorship is insulting to the self. Timidity is a hopeless way forward.


This so-called contemporary art is not a form, but a philosophy of society.


I think by shattering it we can create a new form, a new way to look at what is valuable — how we decide what is valuable.


To call yourself a Chinese artist or woman artist or African artist reflects a certain kind of condition. To me, that is not necessary.


To experience poetry is to see over and above reality.

It is to discover that which is beyond the physical, to experience another life and another level of feeling. It is to wonder about the world, to understand the nature of people and, most importantly, to be shared with another, old or young, known or unknown.


I think art is a very important weapon to achieve human freedom


Everyone of us is a potential convict.


During the days in detention, I thought most about the moon.


Of course, most luxury goods in China are for corrupted officials and their relatives. And that made China become the biggest luxury-goods market. In this kind of dictatorship, in this kind of totalitarian society, it is easy to make deals that you cannot make in a democratic society.


The American experience influenced my understanding of individuality, basic human rights, freedom of expression and the rights and responsibilities of citizens.


Many people I know - writers, poets - they have all been sentenced not once but sometimes three times after they come out. They serve five or six years, come out another time, and then nine years. Come out again, 12 years. Only because they have a different opinion. They are innocent people, they have beautiful minds, beautiful hearts.


By participating in the society we live in, we understand our conditions and the way we relate to the world.


Everyone wants an iPhone, but it would be impossible to design an iPhone in China because it's not a product; it's an understanding of human nature.


China didn't want to lose the cutting edge of technology.

So the idea of having a Sina Weibo was an attempt to compete with Twitter. However, it has no soul - which is freedom of expression. Nevertheless, I think the government regrets having Sina Weibo, but they cannot shut it down. That would definitely be suicidal.


Without freedom of speech, there is no modern world, just a barbaric one.


I think it’s a responsibility for any artist to protect freedom of expression and to use any way to extend this power.


Everyone thinks the Chinese government selected me.

Never ever. I was selected by Herzog and de Meuron.


To express yourself needs a reason, but expressing yourself is the reason.


A nation that has no music and no fairytales is a tragedy.


In the end, I think, the state's rigidity is a function of its own insecurity, its indecisiveness.


We see the tendency in the world to criticise democracy and sometimes even to say that authoritarian countries like China are more efficient. That is very short-sighted. China looks efficient only because it can sacrifice most people's rights. This is not something the west should be happy about.


Overturning police cars is a super-intense workout. It’s probably the only sport I enjoy.


Politics is like air and water. And you know if there is bad politics. Everyone is polluted. Everyone is unhealthy. See the people walking on the street: how they act.


I have people working together, doing different things: architecture, art installation, photography, publishing, and curatorial works and design.


A nation like China has become one of the biggest production fields for exporting cheap labor, which also re-questions our history and past, re-questions human desire, and the human illusions of the past.


The misconception of totalitarianism is that freedom can be imprisoned.

This is not the case. When you constrain freedom, freedom will take flight and land on a windowsill.