ABOUT THE BOOK
Ai Weiwei is Chinas most famous living, modern contemporary artist. His fame and notoriety transcend the art world and encompass the realm of our broader, global modern culture. Even if you dont know who he is, you have almost certainly seen at least one of his works.
The Birds Nest stadium, in China, was the centerpiece of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Ai Weiwei was the artistic consultant for the project. In fact, he collaboratively created the design, and his inspiration was very simple: the stadiums interlacing structure is based on the woven baskets that Ai Weiweis wife likes to collect from local antiques markets in China.
Under different circumstances, helping design an iconic stadium where the 2008 Olympics were staged would have been among Ai Weiweis proudest moments. But given that he has been constantly harassed, arrested and detained for much of his adult life by Chinese authorities ( bulldozed his studio, Ai Wewei has mixed feelings about it, and even asked that his name not be associated with it.
MEET THE AUTHOR
Abdul Montaqim is a journalist, based in London, and has been working in the media since 1989. Among the more well known titles he has written for are The Guardian newspaper, Time Out magazine and the International Business Times website.
He has edited a number of local and community newspapers, magazines and websites, and has, over the course of his career, worked for some of the largest publishers in Europe, including Emap, LLP and Mirror Group Newspapers.
Abdul has also worked outside of the United Kingdom, moving to Abu Dhabi for a year to work on the first national daily newspaper in United Arab Emirates, The National; and he has consulted for media companies in Bangladesh, where he was born.
Abdul briefly worked for a New York-headquartered cable television channel called AsiaNet as a news editor, and realised that although he loves researching, writing and other "technical" parts of a journalist's job, he does not like presenting, preferring to be behind the camera or back in the studio.
He also realised that, although reporting a story through the medium of television is obviously different from telling it through a newspaper or magazine, the heart and mind of every media company is researching and writing.
In his spare time, Abdul likes to spend time with his family, cooking, eating, watching films, listening to music, reading and writing. When he goes out he likes to watch movies at the best cinemas, see live music performances, and eat at good restaurants. He also loves gardening, fishing and going for long walks.
EXCERPT FROM THE BOOK
By far the most astounding achievement of Ai Weiweis career as an artist so far has been the design and construction of the Birds Nest stadium in Beijing. Officially called the National Stadium, it was the centrepiece of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.
And its design conceptnever before seen on such a scale in architecture and constructionwas, according to Ai Weiwei, based on the baskets that his wife, Lu Qing, buys from local antiques markets in Beijing.
It is a stunning achievement. Once seen, never forgotten. There have been many spectacular venues for the Olympics over the years, but few, if any, stadia can live longer in the memory than the Birds Nest.
Birds Nest was a name reportedly given to the stadium by local people who watched it being built in their midst. However, the initial design concept was proposed by Li Xinggang, of China Architecture Design and Research Group (CADRG), during the bidding process.
Buy a copy to keep reading!
Biography of Ai Weiwei
+ Background and Upbringing
+ Major Accomplishments and Awards
+ Personal Life
+ ...and much more