Fans Offer Legos To Ai Weiwei After Company Refuses To Donate Its Toy Bricks

  • 2015-11-10
  • npr.org

The Internet has exploded in support of Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei after Lego refused to donate its toy bricks for an upcoming exhibition in Melbourne, Australia.

TRANSCRIPT

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST: Legos are trending on social media today and not for a reason the Lego Group is excited about. Over the weekend, the Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei said the company refused to sell him Legos for an exhibition on human rights. The artist says the company is bowing to pressure from the Chinese government, and he has frequently criticized that government. NPR's Jim Zarroli has the story.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Ai Weiwei wanted to use Legos for an exhibition on human rights at the National Gallery of Victoria in Australia. He created a similar show last year at the former prison on Alcatraz Island. This time, the Lego Group, which is based in Denmark, told the museum it couldn't provide a bulk order of Legos in the size the museum wanted. In a statement, it said it has no trouble with people using Legos for artwork, but it didn't want to engage in or endorse the use of Lego bricks in projects that carry a political agenda. In an interview from Berlin where he is living temporarily, Ai said the response isn't surprising given Lego's expansion plans.

Image Credit: Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons