In Brief

Ai Weiwei Flies a Flag for Human Rights

The commissioned flag celebrates the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in the UK.

Ai Weiwei creates flag to mark the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights (photo by Camilla Greenwell)
Ai Weiwei creates a flag to mark the 70th anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights (photo by Camilla Greenwell, all images courtesy The Corner Shop)

To mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Ai Weiwei has designed a flag, commissioned to educate future generations about the importance of human rights. Beginning in December, the flag was made available across UK schools, care homes, town halls, office blocks, hospitals, and libraries, with everyone invited to “Fly the Flag for Human Rights,” according to an email to Hyperallergic.

Ai Weiwei's flag
Ai Weiwei’s flag

For six months, these community groups are encouraged to fly the flag both physically and digitally, and beginning in April, individuals will be able to purchase the flag as well, or they can make their own using online toolkits.

Then, from June 24–30, the flag will be flown throughout the country to remind the citizens of the UK of the nation’s commitment to human rights. According to a press release, the flag has been created “in response to the real and present dangers of a world changing at break-neck speed, to offer hope and educate generations to come about the absolute importance of universal human rights.”

Ai Weiwei's flag in Mexico
Ai Weiwei’s flag in Mexico

A number of events have been announced throughout the UK for those seven days in June, with over 100 organizations signed up to participate. Outside of the UK, surrounding events will take place in Mexico, Iceland, Germany, Holland, Denmark, Greece, and the US. In addition, the Donmar Warehouse has created education packs to support teachers and students, and they’re available to download for free online.

A full list of events can be found here.

A wall in Mexico
A wall in Mexico

The original Universal Declaration of Human Rights was created in response to the abuses that occurred during World War II in the hopes that those atrocities would never be repeated.

“Weiwei is honored to have the opportunity to design a flag for the 70th anniversary for the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As we all come to learn, human rights are the precious result from generation after generation’s understanding of the human struggle. He is proud to be a part of this force,” said a representative from the artist’s studio in Berlin.

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