Ai Weiwei Receives First Bianca Jagger Courage Award


The first Bianca Jagger Human Rights Foundation Award for Courage will go to dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei on Oct. 14 at Phillips de Pury auction house, London. Jagger, once a model and actress, has been an environmental and human rights activist for roughly 30 years, following her seven-year marriage to Rolling Stones lead singer Mick Jagger and her days as a celebrity partygoer at Studio 54. She told the press today that the idea for the human rights fundraising gala came to her earlier this year, while she was campaigning for Ai Weiwei’s release from detention in Beijing.

De Pury will host a festive charity auction, also on the 14th, featuring works by Sylvie Fleury, Marc Quinn and other leading contemporary artists. The Award for Courage itself is designed by Quinn and produced by the Swarovski crystal jewelry firm, sponsor of the event.

According to Jagger, “Ai Weiwei’s life and work are emblematic of the values we are honoring at Arts for Human Rights.” The artist was detained in Beijing on Apr. 3, purportedly for tax evasion but in reality, sympathizers claim, for his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government. He was released June 22 on the condition that he not leave Beijing and not discuss his case for at least one year.