Prepare your leg-gun—the web is still abuzz.
Controversial artist Ai Weiwei posted this Instagram photo of himself on June 11, holding his sock-clad leg as a gun. Next to the picture were the words: “Beijing Anti-Terrorism Series.”
Around the same time, he posted this other picture showing an all-woman dance troupe in a 2010 government competition, depicting students-turned-soldiers in the 1940s Communist revolution.
Ai later explained in an interview with the Associated Press that he was drawing attention to the overuse of power “in the name of counter-terrorism.” He added: “Power is being used in the name of protecting you, but what they are actually doing is something which deserves a lot of discussion.”
While not specific, Ai could be referring to any number of recent incidents in communist China. The Chinese government recently launched an “anti-terrorism campaign” in the northwestern Xinjiang province, home of the Uighurs, an ethnic minority that practices Islam. Relations are often strained between the Uighurs and authorities in Beijing.
Some took the political message to heart, but many were just out for some leg gunning fun. Tens of thousands of photos have been shared, and Ai has picked hundreds for his site.
These photos demonstrate a free flow of art, politics, and that wonderful gray area between the two. Unlike Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is not censored in China. “Give me a place to stand and I will move the Earth.”
Art meets politics, from leg gunners around the world (Courtesy of Ai Wei Wei’s Instagram account):