Design Knowledge Intermediary
Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei's new exhibit

Chinese activist Ai Weiwei is one of the world's most famous artists, known for sticking his finger in the eye of the Chinese government and symbols of state power.

One of Ai's latest American exhibits--which features the portraits nearly 200 activists, prisoners and free speech advocates--has just made its East Coast debut in Washington's Hirshhorn Museum.
Assembled by hand with thousands of plastic Lego bricks, 176 portraits cover 700 feet around the ring-shaped museum.
Some names are familiar to Americans: from controversial whistleblowers like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning to civil rights giants like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Ai left China in 2015, four years after the Chinese government confiscated his passport, preventing him from leaving the country.
After Ai was detained he still had to wait four years for the Chinese government to return his passport.
He now has a studio in Berlin and travels the world with his young son, who was part of his inspiration to use a children's toy as part of his work.