Ai Weiwei on the role of artists in today’s society- Hirshhorn Museum

As an artist, I’m only
interested in the role of art, [when] you’re relating [it]
to our life condition, our living condition, which is about human dignity, it’s about freedom of speech, about our dreams and our fears, and that those are so much reflected in today’s political, and social conditions. So that’s why my art quite often is dealing with those issues. Not only because I come from a society where freedom of speech [is]
limited, and [is] censored, but also because I believe today, even our freedom in the West still needs to be protected. Whenever or wherever
those efforts of protect[ion] – those very essential values are lost, then immediately [you] can
see a bad result come out, and unpredicted conditions
can easily ruin our life. So I think it’s very important
for artists to be conscious, and to use their language because that’s their profession –
to communicate it, to express [themselves], to use that skill to defend all those beautiful values.

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