WHAT’S YOUR SIGN?: Activist, architect, filmmaker and contemporary artist Ai Weiwei has admirers around the globe, and now he is giving them a dose of fashion.
On Friday, in a collaboration with the lifestyle brand Rome Pays Off, the ambidextrous talent launched a limited run of items on the Ntwrk shopping app, all imprinted with Ai’s signature “Ox,” which stems from the artist’s Zodiac Lego exhibition. That 2018 show featured the 12 animals of the Chinese Zodiac in thousands of Lego pieces. His series of 12 standing bronze animal heads that each represent a Chinese zodiac sign are part of a collection at the Donum Estate in California’s Sonoma Valley.
The Beijing-born artist is widely known for speaking out against human rights violations. He was imprisoned by authorities in China and was later placed under house arrest for his activism. Residing now in Berlin, he released a documentary titled “Coronation” about the coronavirus pandemic from the perspective of essential workers and residents of Wuhan. In December, he released the documentary “Cockroach,” a title that reportedly riffs on the nickname Hong Kong police gave protesters challenging the extradition bill.
Visitors to the Ai Weiwei Films’ site are greeted with, “Expressing oneself is a part of being human. To be deprived of a voice is to be told you are not a participant in society; ultimately it is a denial of humanity.”
Styles on Ntwrk are available, until they sell out. In honor of the lunar new year, Rome Pays Off and the artist have served up such items as a zodiac ox T-shirt for $75, zodiac ox sweatpants for $125 and a zodiac ox candle for $110.
The artist is also launching a line of scarves through a tie-up with the art book publisher Taschen. Three different scarves — a haircut, a citizens Investigation and a cats and dogs one — will be offered. There will also be two tote bags bowing on Ntwrk on Monday at 8 p.m. EST. There were 2,500 units of each item produced and each is numbered with a screen-printed signature. Frames are not included with individual purchases, but they are recommended.
Ai is expected to be speaking out publicly on Feb. 21 via a virtual talk organized by the Skirball Cultural Center on its YouTube channel.