The piece is part of Pavon’s Nemesis project, original conceived to “protest and bring to light the death in a hunger strike of Cuban prisoner of conscience Orlando Zapata Tamayo while in custody of the Cuban government,” the artist writes in a press release. “The concept of the project is to impose the face of the victim on buildings walls that house government offices … The light on the wall is a symbol of revelation.” Find some details of the earlier Nemesis project in this National Review article. Ai’s face appears like a visitation, a message from a figure currently unable to communicate openly.
It’s incredibly gutsy for Pavon to have gone right to the source to protest so directly. The “Nemesis Ai Weiwei” piece created a much more iconic single image than the 1001 Chairs for Ai Weiwei protest, and that one image is a powerful thing — an artist who is perceived as an enemy by the Chinese government suddenly appearing on their political ground in the United States.
Performance by Geandy Pavón: