Written by Gabriela Albuquerque



If I had to choose only one to describe Ai Weiwei's Rapture exhibition at Cordoaria Nacional, I would choose this one: inclusive.

Yes, we are all upset, we are mentally and physically ill. We are exhausted, hopeless, practically shipwrecked in the midst of daily events and news that have escalated badly, or that are going very badly, as the Portuguese would say.

Belonging, feeling included and “safe”, even if it's illusory, became an anchoring, most wanted type of need. 

After leaving the exhibition - feeling ecstatic - I felt embraced and included.

For those who have seen it, it may seem like a confusing or strange feeling, after all, almost all the ailments we go through are clearly and explicitly present there. Videos of tragic trajectories, refugees around the world, scenes of Chinese repression, landslides and deaths of children, wars, environmental catastrophes, pandemics, etc.

Everything that haunts us is on display, wide open. Like the immense marble toilet paper roll, a bizarre symbol of our selfish instinct for survival.


These representations should have caused me discomfort, but rather they made me feel welcomed. All my ghosts are no longer personal. We live in a collective nightmare.

And the only way out is through a sense of community.

The large and massive pieces, elaborated by many hands, reinforce the idea that the only chance of success will come from group efforts. Like a sports team on a refugee boat, our strength lives in the collective. Freedom only really exists when everyone is free. There is no other way out.

Beyond showing and portraying our ailments, Weiwei invites us to act and to reflect.

Art and life are indissoluble, as much as critics throughout history claim otherwise. Living is a political act and therefore art is always political.

There is no other way.

Inclusion. Collectivity. Freedom.

Yes, everything is political!

How lucky we are to live in a world where Ai Weiwei exists.

Exhibition is open until November 28th, 2021.