Ai Weiwei leg-gun pose

My Instagram feed is has been overwhelmed by a series of loaded leg guns!

Yes, I follow Ai Weiwei, a Chinese contemporary artist, active in sculpture, installation, architecture, curating, photography, film, and social, political and cultural criticism.

Is that leg loaded? Ai Weiwei starts web craze with mysterious ‘leg-gun’ pose, sparking an internet meme by posting pictures of people with their legs raised and pointing like rifles. Is it his latest revolutionary act? A new dance craze? Or the next Angelina Jolie’s thigh? The Guardian weighs the options.

There’s a lot of speculation behind the meaning of Ai Weiwei’s new megapopular meme:

  • a reference to a pose by the Chinese ballet in The Red Detachment of Women and a “satirical comment on China’s onerous cultural control,”
  • a call to #endgunviolence, as many followers have used the hashtag on their photos,
  • a new dance move,
  • a reference to the Cherry Darling character in Robert Rodriguez’s Planet Terror film whose leg is replaced with an actual rifle,
  • or the artist’s answer to Angelina’s leg meme from the 2012.

Ai Weiwei has not officially commented on the series, but it could be part of a larger art project.

“Is there something more subversive going on here, or is the point of this to make us over-analyze a silly meme?”

Note: China’s culture is rapidly shifting. How can we engage this culture with the Christian gospel to create a long lasting impact? Perhaps it will take eccentric and creative Christian minds like Ai Weiwei’s to bring the clarity of the gospel message to the most populous nation in the world.

Dream and brainstorm with us at Within Reach Global.


A Chinese skateboarder in leg-gun pose, posted by Ai Weiwei on Instagram. Photograph: Ai Weiwei/Instagram

Assassination scenes, courtesy of a leg-gun. Photograph: Ai Weiwei/Instagram

A clue for you? This image from the play The Red Detachment of Women, posted by Ai Weiwei on Instagram, may be the answer to the leg-gun meme mystery. Photograph: PRI tot

Is the leg-gun craze a subversive political act? Photograph: Ai Weiwei/Instagram


Follow Ai Weiwei on Instagram

David Joannes
Founder/President at Within Reach Global
David Joannes is the co-founder and president of Within Reach Global, Inc, which serves the advance of the Gospel in some of Southeast Asia’s most difficult places. He is the author of The Space Between Memories: Recollections from a 21st Century Missionary. David has a love for language, culture, and creative writing, and for the last 20 years, he has witnessed God’s Kingdom established in forgotten parts of the globe. David lives in Chiang Mai, Thailand, with his wife, Lorna, and their daughter, Cara.
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