Ayala Museum Presents: Ai Weiwei in the Philippines
When in Manila and you want to experience contemporary art with bite, make sure to check out the Ayala Museum’s current exhibit on Ai Weiwei.
The Ayala Museum did it again, staging an exhibition of an international scale, following last July’s exhibit of Japanese painter Yayoi Kusama, who has famously worked with Louis Vuitton.
The artist Ai Weiwei. Phot from the documentary Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry
Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist and political activist who was jailed without any official charges after his criticism on the Chinese government’s attitude on democracy and human rights. After 81 days of clamor among international governments, human rights groups, and art institutions, he was released and placed under house arrest.
A photo of Ai Weiwei’s Baby Formula, which was held at customs when we visited
A close-up of Baby Formula. Photo by The Ayala Museum
Ai’s installation at the Ayala Museum is called Baby Formula, and is a reaction to the issue of children’s milk safety in China. In 2008, six babies were killed and 300,000 went sick after consuming melamine-laden milk made in the country. Baby Formula is also Ai’s commentary on the restrictive trade policies implemented between mainland China and Hong Kong following the scandal.
From Ai Weiwei’s Baby Formula
The exhibit will be the artist’s first show in the country and will feature 1,815 tin cans of seven popular baby formula brands in the shape of the map of China. Curiously, the brands are not necessarily the brands tainted with melamine. When asked what they thought of being used in the exhibit, the milk companies did not mind. Panels showing images and text made out of visuals of baby formula cans accompany the installation.
Nunu Hong of Galerie Michael Janssen in Singapore discusses Baby Formula
Prior to its Manila exhibition, Ai Weiwei’s Baby Formula was exhibited at the Sheung Wan Civic Center in Hong Kong in May 2013. It was exhibited at the Galerie Michael Janssen in Singapore in August. Now, with an exclusive partnership with Galerie Michael Janssen, Filipinos can now have access to the reclusive Chinese artist.