Ai Wei Wei To Auction Cat Toy Sculpture For Syrian Children

Ai Weiwei
© Courtesy of the artist
Ai Weiwei. F-Size. 2017
Works donated by Weiwei and other artists will be sold at Berlin-based auction house Villa Grisebach on 1 December with proceeds directed towards Beirut's Kayany Foundation

Berlin-based auction house Villa Grisebach will host a charity auction on 1 December to raise money for the Kayany Foundation, which provides education to Syrian refugee children in the Beqaa Valley in Lebanon. Works have been donated by artists such as by Günther Förg, Edmund de Waal, Günther Uecker, Rosemarie Trockel and Tomás Saraceno, alongside a work by controversial political activist and artist Ai Weiwei, who will offer F-Size, with an estimated price of  €200,000-€300,000 (Dhs861,611-1,292,417).

The sculpture, inspired by his cat’s toy, took Weiwei’s Chinese carpenters two years to put together. The large-scale polyhedron is made of huali wood (a fragrant Chinese rosewood) with traditional techniques from the Ming dynasty, which omits the use of nails and screws. It came about in part, admitted Weiwei, to an audience at Villa Grisebach, in order to challenge and stimulate the carpenters.

Weiwei has supported the Kayany Foundation since visiting one of its schools while filming his current project, Human Flow, documenting the global refugee crisis through 600 interviews at 40 camps in over 20 countries thus far. “It had such a strong impact when we drove far away to the Syrian border, a completely forgotten place where no one cares, to find this nice school and to hear people reading books,” Weiwei stated. “The school is very basic, but the teachers are teaching students who are really eager. This is about hope for the next generation.”

Villa Grisebach will give a percentage of the buyer’s premium to the Kayany Foundation. Berlin art dealer Max Hetzler and his wife Samia Saouma, both Kayany Foundation board members, initiated the auction.


Kayany-foundation.org and Grisebach.com

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Ai Weiwei
© Courtesy of the artist
Ai Weiwei. F-Size. 2017