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Hand-held guns from instagram
Instagram users

Ai Weiwei is using legs not for soccer but as “hand-held guns”

Nikhil Sonnad
By Nikhil Sonnad


The Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, known for his unabashed use of social media that is banned in his home country, has started collecting photos of “hand-held guns” on his instagram feed. Users both inside and outside of China are sharing photos of themselves that look something like this:

Ai, who is based in Beijing, earlier shared an image taken from Red Detachment of Women, a Communist-era ballet based on the stories of female Red Army soldier, which looks to be the origin of the leg move.

As with most Chinese internet memes, there is no explicit political dimension to “hand-held guns.” That doesn’t mean there isn’t an implicit one, however. Maybe it’s a commentary on school shootings in the US, or the recently passed and quickly forgotten 25th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre, or the combination of legs and guns that is on the minds of those protesting the World Cup in Brazil. Or maybe it’s just funny.

Here are a few more, but check out Ai Weiwei on instagram to follow along.

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