Lego refused to supply bricks for Ai Weiwei's latest project. See how his fans came to the rescue.

This is Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei.

Photo by Carl Court/Getty Images.


While his daring, unconventional work has made him a global celebrity, it's also made him unpopular with the Chinese government. But even after being harassed, maligned, and imprisoned, Ai continues to create and challenge the status quo.

Ai's latest work centers on free speech ... and mass quantities of Lego bricks.

The piece, set to debut in December at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne, Australia, is a room-sized installation showcasing Australian activists and free speech advocates, composed almost entirely of Legos.

Photo by iStock.

Ai's team contacted Lego, wishing to purchase bricks in bulk. Lego denied the request, telling Ai that "they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works."

When Lego denied his request, Ai took to Instagram to share his disappointment.

He called out the Denmark-based company, saying "Lego's refusal to sell its product to the artist is an act of censorship and discrimination."

"We're he

And with just one post, Ai stirred fans young and old into action.

Ai supporters and Lego enthusiasts from around the world quickly stepped up to donate their bricks to his project.



Using the hashtag #LegosForWeiwei, fans are supporting Ai and taking Lego to task.



Roar Rude Trangbæk, a Lego spokesman with the best name ever, told The Guardian, “In cases where we receive requests for donations or support for projects — such as the possibility of purchasing Lego bricks in large quantities — where we are made aware that there is a political context, we therefore kindly decline support."

Have bricks around your house you'd like to contribute? Hold tight.

While Ai Weiwei vowed to accept every Lego offered to him, the logistics of that are still being worked out. But this incident and outpouring of support have inspired Ai to create "a new work to defend freedom of speech and 'political art.'"

And his team plans to set-up Lego collection points in different cities to support the effort.

In September 2015 Lego refused to sell Ai Weiwei Studio a bulk order of Lego bricks for Ai's artworks to be exhibited at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne on the basis of the works' "political" nature. Ai posted this notice on his Instagram on Friday, October 23rd. Lego's position triggered a torrent of outrage on social media against this assault on creativity and freedom of expression. Numerous supporters offered to donate Lego to Ai. In response to Lego's refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and "political art". Ai Weiwei Studio will announce the project description and Lego collection points in different cities. This is the first phase of the coming projects.
A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

In many places around the globe, expressing oneself is a political act.

Lego bricks are the tools many kids (and adults alike) use to imagine and build a better future, create new narratives, and challenge themselves. It's not always perfect, and it's occasionally messy, but that's how the best stuff comes to life.

Photo by iStock.

Take a cue from your fans, Lego, and support the people who are shaking things up and inspiring others to do the same.


True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The recent passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg not only marked the end of an illustrious life of service to law and country, but the beginning of an unprecedented judicial nomination process. While Ginsburg's spot on the Supreme Court sits open, politicians and regular Americans alike argue over whether or not it should be filled immediately, basing their arguments on past practices and partisan points.

When a Supreme Court vacancy came up in February of 2016, nine months before the election, Senate Republicans led by Mitch McConnell refused to even take up a hearing to consider President Obama's pick for the seat, arguing that it was an election year and the people should have a say in who that seat goes to.

Four years later, a mere six weeks before the election, that reasoning has gone out the window as Senate Republicans race to get a nominee pushed through the approval process prior to election day. Now, they claim, because the Senate majority and President are of the same party, it makes sense to proceed with the nomination.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


Keep Reading Show less

"Very nice!" It appears as though Kazakhstan's number one reporter, Borat Sagdiyev, is set to return to the big screen in the near future and the film's title is a sight to behold.

Reports show that the title submitted to the Writer's Guild of America, "Borat: Gift Of Pornographic Monkey To Vice Premiere Mikhael Pence To Make Benefit Recently Diminished Nation Of Kazakhstan" is even longer than the first film's, "Borat: Cultural Learnings Of America For Make Benefit Glorious Nation Of Kazakhstan."

As the title suggests, the film is expected to feature an encounter with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as well as President Trump's TV lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Keep Reading Show less