Ai Weiwei to Receive the 2017 Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship in Toronto

Aug 25, 2017

6 Degrees has announced that Ai Weiwei will be coming to Toronto to receive the 2017 Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship. The great Chinese artist and activist will accept the award on Wednesday, September 27, at Koerner Hall, TELUS Centre for Performance and Learning in Toronto. Among the most renowned and revered of living artists, Ai Weiwei’s remarkable career has been characterized by boldness, vision, daring, and a deep empathy for ordinary lives. His recent documentary, Human Flow, filmed in 23 countries, depicts the personal and political impact of the global refugee crisis.

As Canadians who saw his legendary exhibit “According to What?” at the Art Gallery of Ontario in 2013 (during which he was forbidden to travel outside of China) will attest, he is a master at the use of multiple media to show audiences how to examine social and political values critically. Ai Weiwei is equally remarkable at issuing accessible, often large-scale aesthetic statements that resonate across cultures, languages, and continents.

As an activist, Ai Weiwei is no less visionary and engaged, both as a citizen of China and of the world. 6 Degrees is especially pleased to honour Ai Weiwei during a period in his career when he is focusing on refugees and migration.

The Adrienne Clarkson Prize for Global Citizenship, established in 2016, is the marquee event at 6 Degrees. The prize is awarded annually to a leader whose life has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the ideals of belonging and inclusion. Through words, actions, and results, this individual has encouraged thought and dialogue, approaches and strategies that strive to remove barriers, change attitudes, and reinforce the principles of tolerance and respect. Last year’s inaugural laureate was His Highness the Aga Khan.

“This is an important news story as it is only recently that he has been able to travel, establish his studio in Berlin, and bring his message of art expressing human freedom to all of us unencumbered,” says The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson. “I feel deeply as a Chinese person that, like the lyrics of Leonard Cohen’s Bird on a Wire, ‘we have tried in our way to be free’ – I, as a part of an inadvertent diaspora, and he as a focal point for China’s modern history. He is profound, playful, and a truly world figure.”

6 Degrees, presented by the Institute for Canadian Citizenship , connects thinkers and doers to drive the global conversation on inclusion and citizenship. From September 25-27, the second annual 6 Degrees Citizen Space will engage thousands of participants at 12 events over three days in a unique program that encompasses large-scale lectures, dynamic conversations in the round (the signature 6 Degrees “360 sessions”), intimate exchanges, public celebrations, original research, youth-driven projects, artistic engagements, and an opportunity to experience the power of an ICC community citizenship ceremony. 6 Degrees Citizen Space’s Presenting Partners for 2017 are RBC, the City of Toronto, Air Canada and Ontario150.

The Institute for Canadian Citizenship inspires Canadians to be inclusive, embrace fresh thinking, practice active citizenship, and own our collective culture and spaces through innovative programs and special projects including: a unique approach to community citizenship ceremonies, the Cultural Access Pass, Ideas & Insights and 6 Degrees.

Tickets for the event, which will include a conversation between the artist and Mme. Clarkson, are available online. Get Tickets!