It’s important in this time and in this country to recognize that the powerlessness we feel is something forced upon us and is entirely manufactured. Even if just for a moment, we can offer hope and comfort to those who are fighting for us all. This book, which chronicles artist and activist Ai Weiwei’s project of encouraging people to write postcards to those incarcerated for advocating for human rights, is hopeful and shattering and will galvanize its readers.
Renowned artist Ai Weiwei engaged nearly 900,000 visitors in a conversation about human rights with his art installation @Large: Ai Weiwei on Alcatraz. In one participatory piece, Yours Truly, visitors sent 92,829 postcards to prisoners of conscience around the world. This book delves into those postcards' lasting impact. Five former prisoners and their loved ones reflect on the experience of receiving hundreds of postcards while imprisoned. Essays and a statement by Ai Weiwei contextualize this extraordinary project. And photographs taken during the exhibition show visitors and the messages they wrote. The book also includes four pre-addressed, tear-out postcards, inviting readers—whether art lovers or activists—to send hope to individuals still imprisoned for defending human rights.
About the Author
David Spalding is the executive director of Haines Gallery and consulting editor for the FOR-SITE Foundation. He lives in San Francisco.
Ai Weiwei is among the world's most celebrated contemporary artists and is an outspoken critic of injustice. He lives in Berlin.
Cheryl Haines is principal of Haines Gallery and founding executive director of the FOR-SITE Foundation. She lives in San Francisco.
Jasmine Heiss has worked on criminal justice issues at the local, national, and global level, including for Amnesty International USA. She lives in Philadelphia.