Meijer Gardens dedicating ‘Iron Tree’ sculpture


Ai Weiwei’s sculpture, “Iron Tree,” features 99 iron pieces cast from individual tree parts. Courtesy Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park

A large iron sculpture by Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei that's designed to prompt thoughts about how different people and cultures come together is being dedicated today at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park.

The 6:30 p.m. ceremony is to dedicate “Iron Tree” as part of events marking Meijer Gardens’ 20th anniversary.

Made of 99 iron pieces, the sculpture looks like a tree without leaves, but oversize stainless steel bolts that hold it together give it a mechanical appearance.

The artist’s work is well-known internationally, but he isn't allowed to travel outside China. He spent nearly three months in prison in China in 2011 and last year directed the transformation of the former island prison of Alcatraz into a tribute to the world's political prisoners.

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