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98 Shoes: Liam Kirwin '18 White Shirt Project

Ai Weiwei inspired me because he is an activist. That means that his art is more than just something that looks good. His art serves a purpose. A piece of art that inspired me is Snake Bag. Weiwei created this after the Sichuan earthquake devastated China. Many people died, especially children in government-built schools. They would not have died if the government had built the schools well, but instead they build them shoddily. The schools collapsed, and thousands of children perished. Weiwei drew attention to their deaths by creating a snake sculpture made out of kids backpacks. By doing this, he drew attention to the Chinese government, who was at fault for so many children’s deaths.

Because of his art, and current events in America, I chose a cause that was important to me–gun violence–and created art about this cause. It is important to me because guns affect so many people per day. In America, 98 people are killed by guns each day. That means 98 lives lost, 98 futures ruined, 98 families that will never be the same. When I saw this statistic, I couldn’t believe it. The number was outrageous, and I knew I had to create  piece of art that was very emotionally moving. I attached 98 pairs of shoes to plywood in the shape of a huge gun to represent the 98 Americans killed by guns each day.

Author Liam Kirwin ‘18, 2018 White Shirt Project (Read more about the 2018 Eighth Grade White Shirt Projects and Arts Night)