Ai Weiwei is one of China’s best-known artists; he is an agitator on the social landscape of China especially in regards to social and political issues. One of the integral themes in his works is the notion of questioning authenticity, value, and their construction and destruction. The White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale currently has some of his work on display as part of the current show The Big Bang, a larger section of the same work is also currently taking up the entire turbine Hall in the Tate Modern in London.
The work Sunflower Seeds (2009) the work itself resembles the title but is constructed from porcelain. The seeds were individually crafted and hand-painted; a 500-kg pile provided work for 160 people for six months. Ai Wei Wei worked with a local community in Jingdezhen to create over 100 million of these seeds. Each seed has been formed using a ceramic mold, cleaned, hand painted and fired in a kiln. It was amazing to be able to see hold and interact with a tiny hand full of these seeds in White Rabbit I cannot even begin to imaging what it would be like to being the Turbine Hall of the Tate walking through a field of these porcelain seeds. When questioned about his work Ai WeiWei responses are almost quizzical. According him the sunflower theme references sunflower seeds surrounding Mao like the sun. He also references the work as being a form of craftivism referencing the massive numbers people from Jingdezhen who made the millions of seeds.