Letter Reveals Vanished Artist’s Deepest Beliefs

Ai Weiwei’s sister has released a letter Ai wrote in 1978, which provides some insight into his early experiences that had a deep impact on his view of the world. She also states that she believes he will be treated very harshly by authorities, which charges much more severe than the current undefined “economic crimes” he is being investigated for. The Australian reports:

“What is deeply imprinted on my mind is: on the smokingly dried land the slim and weak child carried heavy firewood; the zigzag footprints left in the cold wind and the blind nights; the sound of smashing furniture and people begging for mercy; the cat being hanged till it was dead and mudfish heads reaching out from the pond; the bullying and cursing in front of people. We were so young but we had to bear all the crimes,” Ai wrote in 1978.

“If I can say I have some valuable things, those are my memories. Memories of the endless muddy road, the wild Gobi Desert without any sign of people. The bottomless memory poisoned our young souls like snakes, but we didn’t die in it. On the contrary, I want a better life for myself to control my own destiny.”

Ms Gao said her brother was not an activist but “an artist only” expressing his sympathy for the people living at the bottom levels of societies not only in Beijing but also in New York when he was there.

“Weiwei is doomed to be ‘exposed’ as a public enemy of unforgivable sins. (People) will know that when they look back at the ‘crimes’ of his father in 1958 and 1966,” Ms Gao said.

“We’re fully aware the authorities will not easily let him go, they must work out more crimes beyond the ‘economic crimes’ .”