Ai Weiwei Makes 10,000 Masks For Coronavirus Charities

It seems like almost everyone is coming together these days in order to help those who need it, and Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei is the latest. He’s created 10,000 masks that he is selling on eBay, with all proceeds going to humanitarian groups led by Human Rights Watch, Refugees International and Médecins Sans Frontières. 

The masks themselves comes with different images on them, from sunflower seeds and mythical beasts to a defiant middle finger. The images have all been silk screened in Berlin on non-surgical cloth face masks, and are not only usable, but are also highly sought-after collectors items as well. 

In a statement released on his Instagram page, Ai Weiwei stated: “The COVID-19 pandemic is a humanitarian crisis. It challenges our understanding of the 21st century and warns of dangers ahead. It requires each individual to act, both alone and collectively.

It is not enough to reflect on the new conditions and while away the time without fully inhabiting this moment. Actualizing one’s inner need to participate gives life during COVID a new meaning. This is why I am always involved. I refuse to accept any part of life as a complete loss.

Our small individual act becomes powerful when they are part of the social response. An individual wearing a mask makes a gesture; a society wearing masks combats a deadly virus. And a society that wears masks because of the choices of individuals, rather than because of the directive of authorities, can defy and withstand any force. No will is too small and no act too helpless.”

The whole initiative started when the artist became angry about face mask news stories, and printed a wood carving onto a mask, which he then posted to Instagram. People started asking about the carving and where they could get one, so from there he started his new project. The masks are available to purchase at and cost $50 for one. If you want a complete series of four masks you can get them for $300, or all 20 are available for $1,500. 

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