Ai Weiwei launches Omni, the artist’s 360° immersive documentary film works, with a sold out Guardian Live event at Cadogan Hall on 30 January 2020. The artist will be in conversation with Guardian Arts Editor, Alex Needham.
Omni, Ai’s first virtual reality artwork, brings together two videos – Displaced Working Elephants in Myanmar and Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh – giving viewers an intimate view of the uprooted, both animals and humans, as they experience various forms of displacement. The 360-degree immersive video places the viewer alongside the former working elephants in Myanmar, and within a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, the world’s largest refugee settlement, in Bangladesh.
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Born in China to a poet who was denounced during the Anti-Rightist movement, Ai has experienced displacement from an early age, when his family was sent to a labour camp and were exiled for 16 years. In the early 1980s, Ai relocated to the United States where he studied art, living undocumented in New York for a decade. He moved back to Beijing in 1993 where he was a fixture of the early Chinese avant-garde. Ai’s art reflects contemporary life, including the relationship between modernity and tradition, and the individual and society. Since 2015, Ai’s work has focused in particular on the human issues brought to the fore by the global refugee crisis.
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