A Remarkable Collaboration: Weiwei & Benally

July 17, 2014  |   Feature,   Initiatives,   World
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Ai Weiwei, internationally acclaimed Chinese dissident artist, and Navajo artist Bert Benally through a remarkable collaboration, recently created Pull of the Moon, a temporary, site-specific art installation in a remote part of Coyote Canyon on the Navajo Nation. Pull of the Moon is part of Navajo TIME (Temporary Installations Made for the Environment), a unique partnership between New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. The installation features earth-based drawings using sand.

Bert Benally's Sand-Sculpture Design
Bert Benally’s Sand-Sculpture Design
Bert Benally said of Pull of the Moon, "The concept is based on Navajo aesthetics, the idea that for the Navajo, art is more about the process rather than the finished product."
Bert Benally said of Pull of the Moon, “The concept is based on Navajo aesthetics, the idea that for the Navajo, art is more about the process rather than the finished product.”
Ai Weiwei's Sandpainting Design
Ai Weiwei’s Sandpainting Design
This image, provided by New Mexico Arts, shows a sand drawing created with more than 250 pounds of crushed porcelain powder shipped from China by dissident artist Ai Weiwei at a remote location on the Navajo Nation near Coyote Canyon, N.M. Weiwei teamed up with Navajo artist Bert Benally as part of the "Pull of the Moon" project organized by New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. Photo: New Mexico Arts, AP
This image, provided by New Mexico Arts, shows a sand drawing created with more than 250 pounds of crushed porcelain powder shipped from China by dissident artist Ai Weiwei at a remote location on the Navajo Nation near Coyote Canyon, N.M. Weiwei teamed up with Navajo artist Bert Benally as part of the “Pull of the Moon” project organized by New Mexico Arts and the Navajo Nation Museum. Photo: New Mexico Arts, AP

Pull of the Moon signifies the transformative power of art through international collaboration and is a reminder of the immense challenges faced by many cultures and the capacity for growth and healing from very impactful events. Despite being unable to travel outside of China, Ai Weiwei’s boundless spirit and creativity still touch many around the globe.

Ceramic shards were ground down to a fine powder that was used in the installation at Coyote Canyon.  "The shards were intentionally placed there as evidence of the powder's origin," explained Ai Weiwei, "I think this is an interesting idea because we can only see ourselves, our past, through material evidence such as these shards. It is important to pass on to future generations where we are from and to give a glimpse of the mind and soul of the people living in that time."
Ceramic shards were ground down to a fine powder that was used in the installation at Coyote Canyon. “The shards were intentionally placed there as evidence of the powder’s origin,” explained Ai Weiwei, “I think this is an interesting idea because we can only see ourselves, our past, through material evidence such as these shards. It is important to pass on to future generations where we are from and to give a glimpse of the mind and soul of the people living in that time.”

This video is an inside look at this extraordinary project: Ai Weiwei & Bert Benally



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