As an early birthday excursion, my girlfriends took me to the Art Gallery of Ontario to see the Ai Weiwei exhibition. I’ve mentioned this wonderful artist before and, seeing the show, I was moved by his powerful art. His most meaningful pieces were those created in response to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008. He was outraged at how the Chinese government tried to cover up the number of deaths and failed to investigate the corruption that accounted for so many buildings being destroyed. His most powerful pieces commemorate the 5200 students whose lives were lost in the disaster.
But his sense of mischief is evident in many of the other pieces, including photos depicting him deliberately breaking a 2000-year old vase, or giving the finger to famous world landmarks. All of these works have a purpose behind them, and that purpose is usually to challenge authority and to give a voice to the underrepresented.
Having seen and enjoyed the wonderful exhibition, we then went to a nearby restaurant for lunch. For dessert, we split a sticky toffee pudding, after which one of my friends challenged me to make my own variation at home. Challenge accepted, Karen!