After Ai Weiwei, the Chinese dissident artist reported that the Danish toy manufacturer Lego had turned down a request by his Beijing studio for a large order of the plastic model-making building blocks, on political grounds, the artist has announced the first collection points where supporters can deposit their Lego donations.
The artist had posted on Instagram, stating Lego had refused their bulk order in September. The popular company said we “cannot approve the use of Legos for political works”. The artist believed it may have to do with a contract between the British firm Merlin Entertainments, who intend to open a ‘Legoland’ park in Shanghai announced on Chinese president Xi Jinping’s State visit to the UK last week. The visit included an official banquet with the Queen.
The first donation point – in the shape of a red car – was installed outside Ai Weiwei’s studio in Beijing earlier this week, according to the Guardian. Then yesterday, the National Gallery of Victoria announced that from tomorrow visitors will be able to drop their Lego bricks through the sunroof of a red vehicle parked in the sculpture garden of the museum based in Melbourne.
On Monday, it was announced that “in response to Lego’s refusal and the overwhelming public response, Ai Weiwei has now decided to make a new work to defend freedom of speech and ‘political art.'”
“The project began by celebrating those who stand for human rights and freedom of speech, and has inspired a groundswell of support that has developed into this inspiring project which has engaged the wider community,” Tony Ellwood, director of the NGV, explained in a statement to the press.
Now, London’s Royal Academy, which is currently the location of the artist’s blockbuster retrospective, has announced today that it will become the UK collection point for Lego donations, as well as Lisson Gallery, which represents the artist’s work, where Lego may be donated by post.