“Poets are the unacknowledged legislators of the world,” wrote Percy Bysshe Shelley in “A Defense of Poetry” in 1821. A radical, Romantic humanist, Shelley passionately believed that artists of all stripes could inspire the masses to rise up against oppression. The “legislation” written and enacted by artists spoke directly to the yearnings of those seeking freedom. When the Chinese government seized artist Ai Weiwei (pictured above) yesterday as he tried to fly to Hong Kong from Beijing, they acknowledged the power of Ai’s art to “legislate” in a way they seemingly no longer could in the face of the oncoming “Jasmine Revolution.” The fate of Ai, and that of the Chinese people, now hangs in the balance. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "Unacknowledged Legislators."
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