Ai Wei Wei's "Unbroken" Exhibit

Hi, it's your art-gallery and museum-obsessed gal here, back with an exhibit that you seriously can't miss while it's here in Toronto. Evidenced by the onslaught of people who showed up for it, I'd say that most of the city knows about it by now. But hey – in case you didn't, or in case you don't want to wait 2+ hours in line, here's the low down.

Ai Wei Wei was born in China in 1957, and has since become one of the world's most relevant artists and renowned activists. His art has become a platform for criticizing human rights injustices, both in his home country of China and around the world. He skyrocketed to fame when he photographed himself dropping a 2000-year-old Han Dynasty Urn. Created quite the stir with that one.

The Gardiner Museum is focused on ceramics and pottery, which is why this exhibit, "Unbroken", features this particular medium from the body of Ai Wei Wei's work. The other exhibits in the museum are worth checking out, too, especially when you're waiting in line to get into the Ai Wei Wei exhibit.

My parents and I went during a weekend when The Gardiner Museum was completely free to the public, so I assume the lines were a little longer than usual. To get into the museum, we waited around 20 minutes. Once we were inside, it was another hour long wait. Pro tip – wear some comfy shoes, check out the other rooms, and just take it all in stride. You're about to witness some of the most infamous art of the past few decades.

Once you get to the end of the line, you can take a few minutes to document the experience and take some selfies.  If you didn't 'gram it, did it even happen? (Side note: so thankful for parents who go along with it all)

While the wait for the exhibit was annoyingly long, I did appreciate that only a certain amount of people were let in at a time. It was still busy, but the viewing experience was way better. The museum is also probably very protective of the pieces, since they're just out in the open and not protected by any barriers or glass. 

Some of Ai Wei Wei's infamous sunflower seeds also made an appearance – although they're only a fraction of the millions that hundreds of workers in China hand painted. I also loved this ginormous tree that anchored one side of the room. From far away, it seems as if it's all one piece. But when you give it a closer look, it's actually multiple tree branches all screwed together in a twisted way. 

I really loved these Chinese Zodiac portraits made out of lego. Ai Wei Wei has a gorgeous way of taking everyday objects and making them into art. Forcing you to stop and consider an object in a different way – either through the sheer amount of them, or the unique way in which they're arranged. Or by, you know, sacrilegiously painting over precious Chinese artefacts. 

"Unbroken" is on at The Gardiner Museum until June 10th. While we went on a free weekend, tickets are only $15 for regular adult admission. Combine it with a breakfast at Overeasy just across the street, and you've got yourself a perfect weekend date.