Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei has created a map out of 1,800 cans of baby formula, to highlight the 2008 melamine tainted milk scandal. It killed and caused infants throughout China to become ill.
This new exhibition which opened today in Hong Kong has different connotations . Quality fears in China has created a rush on Hong Kong produced baby formula. This has often left Hong Kong shelves empty of a vital product needed by many local mothers.
The situation has become so critical that Hong Kong restricted how much baby formula families can purchase at one time creating a rationing not seen since since the war. Fines of up to $64,000 and two-year jail sentences have been imposed on individuals breaking the law.
The run on milk is not limited to Hong Kong. Shops in Australia, Canada and the UK have also reported a rise in Chinese tourists purchasing milk formula and shipping them home to China.
The massive demand for baby-milk formula in China is attributed to only a 28% of Chinese mother breastfeeding their children. UNICEF reports that this low rate is a result of limited maternity leave and heavy handed advertising of the product.
Born in 1957 in Beijing, China, Ai Weiwei lives and works in forced internship, unable to visit the west. most widely known and outspoken Chinese artists working today. Known for his social or performance-based interventions as well as object-based artworks, he employs metaphorical references, humour and political irony in his work. He is best known for his collaboration on the ‘Birds Nest Stadium’ for the Beijing Olympics in 2008. He returned to work on the design of the 2012 Serpentine Pavilion with Herzog & de Meuron the original team which produced the ‘Birds Nest’.Working in disciplines ranging from sculpture, photography to multimedia video installation, there seems to be no stopping the output of Mr Ai’s innovative creative force.