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Chinese artist, activist offers provocative view of ‘Humanity’


I became interested in the work of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei after I visited an exposition of his work in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where I serve as a missionary.

Ai Weiwei with Larry Warsh (editor). Humanity. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018. 168 pages. $12.95.

Ai Weiwei with Larry Warsh (editor). Humanity. Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 2018. 168 pages. $12.95.

His work is not simply beautiful; it is also provocative. It calls on the beholder to take action. Much of his work highlights the international refugee crisis, which he justly calls a “human crisis.”

His book, Humanity,” gathers quotes from interviews and speeches he has given through his years of activism. From these citations you can perceive his high view of human beings, his rejection of borders, fences and walls, and his call to solidarity with all refugees.

As a Christian who works with refugees, I could not help but think that many people of faith are openly indifferent to the 65 million refugees worldwide who search for life, hope and a home today. In a stunning condemnation of “First World” indifference, Weiwei says, “We have to give every refugee essential protection. The tragedy is not only that people have lost their lives. The tragedy is the people who, in the very rich nations, have lost their humanity.”

Jonathan Hanegan | What we’re reading

While many long for the America of their youth, “the poor of Jesus Christ” wander the earth not looking for handouts, but for the recognition of the human dignity endowed to them by their Creator.

Weiwei’s art and activism inspires me to continue my fight for refugees with a much higher view of human beings and in the name of Jesus Christ, who was once a refugee.

Jonathan Hanegan works with the Redeemer Church of Christ in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He blogs at www. tallerteologicolatinoamericano.org/jonathan.

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