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Ai Weiwei in Conversation

1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows

Join Ai Weiwei – one of the world’s most famous artists and activists – for a riveting conversation about his widely anticipated memoir, 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows.

Come and hear Ai Weiwei, hailed as ‘the most important artist working today’ by the Financial Times and as ‘an eloquent and unsilenceable voice of freedom’ by the New York Times, as he discusses his ambitious and intimate book. 1000 Years of Joys and Sorrows tells a century-long epic tale of China through the story of his own extraordinary life and the legacy of his father, Ai Qing, the nation’s most celebrated poet.

Ai Weiwei’s sculptures and installations have been viewed by millions around the globe, and his architectural achievements include helping to design the iconic Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing. His political activism has long made him a target of the Chinese authorities, which culminated in months of secret detention without charge in 2011. In this unique event, Ai Weiwei will explore the origins of his exceptional creativity and passionate political beliefs through his own life story and that of his father, whose own creativity was stifled.

From his family’s banishment during the Cultural Revolution, to the difficult decision to leave them to study art in America, to his rise from artistic unknown to art world superstar and international human rights activist, join Ai Weiwei to hear the story of an extraordinary life lived under extraordinary circumstances – and reflections on the myriad forces that have shaped modern China, the urgent need to protect freedom of expression.