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A Deserving Cause

Dear friends,

Beloved artist Ai Weiwei has been disappeared by
the Chinese government. Chinese elites are major art buyers and highly sensitive
to the international art community. Let’s build a massive appeal for top
galleries and artists to stop exhibiting in China
until Ai Weiwei is

Sign the petition!

World-famous and beloved
Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been “disappeared” by China’s state security
. Every trace of Ai’s life and art has been erased from the Chinese
internet, and his only hope may be a global outcry for his release.

Fearful of the pro-democracy protests sweeping the world, the government
has cracked down on hundreds of free-thinking Chinese artists, intellectuals,
students and citizens. But across the world, artists and art-lovers have
begun to speak out
in solidarity with Ai.

Chinese elites are major
buyers of contemporary art, and are now planning a huge art fair in Beijing. If
international galleries and artists stay away from China until Ai is freed,
they’ll send shockwaves through the regime. Let’s build a massive global wave
of support for top gallerists and artists to stop exhibiting in China
Ai Weiwei is released. We’ll deliver it at the upcoming Venice Biennale

of galleries and artists from over 15 countries are now gearing up for the
Beijing International Art Expo and other shows. We’ll present our petition to
all the prominent galleries and artists, and log their responses on our website,
mobilizing the art world to take a strong stand on behalf of Ai and all the
free-thinking citizens who have been jailed.

China sometimes seems
immune to international pressure, but art-activism could work. When
sports stars stayed away from South Africa they got the attention of the brutal
apartheid regime, hastening Nelson Mandela’s release. Together with
international artists and dealers we may now be able to achieve the same

Ai Weiwei’s crime has been to speak out against corruption and
in China. He resigned on principle from the team designing the
‘Bird’s Nest’ Olympic stadium, criticized corruption behind poorly built schools
that killed children in the Sichuan earthquake, and expressed hope the
democratic revolutions in the Middle East might lead to change in China. Now
noone knows where he is being held or why. Let’s call on artists and galleries
to come together to free Ai Wei Wei:

Wei Wei’s parents spent 16 years in a prison labour camp for their principles.
At that time China was isolated from the world, but now times have changed.
Our voices count — let’s use them now for Ai and China’s free-thinking
artists, and the new China they’re striving to create.

With hope,

Alex, Ricken, Maria Paz, Morgan and the whole Avaaz


BBC — Chinese Artist Held for Economic

NYTimes — China Takes Dissident Artist Into Custody

The Guardian — Cultural Revolutionary

CNN — A Dangerous mix of art and politics

Atlantic — The Art of Bubbles: How Southeby’s Predicts the World Economy

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