2014 Moonlighting with Ai Wei Wei
Moonlighting with Ai WeiWei explores recurrent themes of expressing freedom and tradition. It addresses ideas of the symbolic boundlessness of human connectivity beyond our physical restrictions.
While travelling through Myanmar at the beginning of the year I noticed that at the entrance to every temple there were vendors with crowded birdcages. It is the tradition in Myanmar that birds are caught and placed into cages for sale so that they may be released as 'luck birds'. The release of these birds is accompanied with the following prayer: Today I give you your life; someday you will give me my life. The caged owls haunted me. Through history the owl has symbolised a wise, intuitive and mystical creature that keeps the spirits who pass from one plane to another. It has blurred the distinction between the real and the imagined and bridged the gap between day and night and conscious and unconscious.
The deprivation of freedom placed on these birds was highly symbolic and led me to examine the work of Chinese artist and political activist Ai WeiWei. I became fascinated with his work and the 2013 Moon Project launched by Ai WeiWei and Olafur Eliasson which emphasises the global reach and interconnectivity of ideas beyond the limitation of political and geographic boundaries. It used the Internet to travel beyond the physical restrictions placed on him by the current Chinese regime. My paintings and works on paper embrace Ai WeiWei's motif of the moon as representing the universal connectivity of ideas and humanity. " Wherever or whoever we are in the world we look at the same moon." it symbolises our connectivity beyond the geographic and political limitations.
Group Show Stella Downer Fine Art Gallery