Ai Weiwei on Human Touch

Ai Weiwei on Human Touch

“I started working with Fine Cell Work when they showed me the possibilities. I was to provide a creation or design for people who were in jail to work on. For me that was a very fascinating idea, myself having been in jail and many of my friends have been in jail.


Fine Cell Work Sotheby's Auction Ai Wei Wei


This offered a very good opportunity for prisoners to reach out and think about the issues [faced] in the real world. The real world can sometimes [feel like] a prison, even for those people who have not committed a crime. Their lives can still feel like prison. That’s why I created this piece.

We had many discussions back and forth and as a result, the piece has come back surprisingly beautiful. It has really been done with care and sensitivity. The topic is powerful – it is about refugees, about Human Flow. I think people in prison conditions may understand the topic better and several of the prisoners have written me letters which are very emotional.

From the bottom of my heart, I feel very grateful. I think this has been a healthy project and has turned out to be fantastic.”

- Ai Weiwei


Read next: Andrew on stitching the Ai Weiwei piece


  • Sharon on

    This is a very powerful work.The imagery of riding the waves whether literally as the people fleeing the turmoil of their no longer safe homes or the struggles we are all facing in these trying times.I am glad to have stumbled on this moving project.

  • Sarah Pyke on

    I’m thrilled to discover that Ai Wei Wei has been working with Fine Cell. I have your book ‘The Sleep Quilt.’ I am a stitcher and all your work is so inspiring. I would love to be involved in some way.

    Warmest wishes to you all.
    Sarah Pyke

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