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Ai Weiwei’s “Circle of Animals” Coming to New York
Will the Chinese artist and government critic be allowed to come too?
Ai Weiwei with the dog from "Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads."

It’s funny how an interest in dogs takes you places. This morning, I was drawn in by the photo of a giant dog head sculpture in The New York Times. It’s part of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei’s Zodiac series, which will be installed outside the New York City’s Plaza Hotel in May.

 
Wanting to know more about this inspiring canine, I ended up learning about an inspiring artist—Ai Weiwei. A longtime critique of the Chinese government, the sculptor/conceptual artist was embraced by the leadership for many of his early years. Ai was even selected to collaborate on the famous Bird's Nest stadium for the 2008 Summer Olympics.
 
Then, he turned around and criticized China for whitewashing its repressive policies during the Olympics. He blamed the government for corruption that lead to poor construction of schools that collapsed, killing thousands of children during the Sichuan earthquake. Since then he has been targeted by the government. He has been beaten, his studio has been razed and he is currently in detention.
 
What has this got to do with dogs? Well, other than the gorgeous Zodiac rendition not much, directly, but when you look at your life with dogs, you’ll probably see many ways they link you to the world—either physically, through walks and activities, or mentally, as you connect with dogs in art, literature, science, politics and on and on.
 
Meanwhile Ai was expected to attend the unveiling of “Circle of Animals/Zodiac Heads” on May 2, we’re hoping he will be released to “walk” his rather large dog in New York on the big day.

 

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Lisa Wogan lives in Seattle and is the author of, most recently, Dog Park Wisdom. lisawogan.com

Photos: AW Asia

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