Born in 1957, Ai Weiwei is the son of Ai Qing, a poet whose participation in Communist agitation in Shanghai throughout the 1930s got him imprisoned. Ai is similarly revolutionary, as the variety of mediums he works with, including photography, sculpture, film and performance, are unified under the theme of challenging authority. He studied at the Beijing Film Academy before attending Parsons School of Design, and spent the 1980s in New York City. He returned to China in 1993 as a designer, and emerged as an outspoken intellectual. He produced Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn in 1995, a set of three photographs which document Ai holding, dropping, and standing over the remains of a 2,000 year old Han dynasty urn. Urns appear often in Ai’s work, commenting on mass consumption, individuality and censorship. In 2011, the Chinese government imprisoned him for 81 days. Ai left China in 2015, and currently resides in Berlin.