Piles of stolen Ai Weiwei sunflower seeds grow as Couriers of Taste exhibition idea succeeds

Alice Jones' Arts Diary

Back in February, the Arts Diary wrote about Couriers of Taste at Danson House in Bexleyheath. The curators were looking for anyone who had pocketed one of the millions of porcelain sunflower seeds that made up Ai Weiwei’s artwork at Tate Modern in 2010 to lend them their souvenirs for the show.

Since then they have received donations from all over the world, from Bristol to Brooklyn, and their loot is now on display with labels detailing each seed’s provenance. Last month they received a boost with the delivery of 10lb of seeds from “Matthew”, who was involved in transporting the artwork to New York.

“As a whole, the piece is quite large and unwieldy, and they weigh tonnes”, he explained. “Due to this, many of the little buggers escaped, and because of the volume, time, and expense of all of this, the general opinion was to not be frantic when a few squeaked away."

"Every attempt was made to corral and collect the larger leaks, but I personally took it upon myself as a big fan of Ai's to track down any and all I could… Given Ai's politics it seems he would be happier with them in the hands of the working man (like myself), as opposed to them being commoditised and hoarded by the ruling class.  Maybe this is part of the work?”

Ai has not commented on the show.

“Everyone has a story about why they stole the seeds”, says Sarah Humphris at Bexley Heritage Trust. “We had one man from Hastings who took a handful and wants to leave one wherever he goes in the world – at the Eiffel Tower etc. And we had a woman who emailed us from Australia to say she pinched a couple but then lost them in her handbag on her flight home to Adelaide.”

The exhibition runs until 31 October and is still taking submissions. Email seeds@bexleyheritagetrust.org.uk 

Also in the Arts Diary

RSC's Titus Andronicus carries heavy warning as production ups the blood-squirting gore Tarantino-style

The hot spot of the Venice Biennale comes all the way from Peckham; Festivals suffer identity crisis

@AlicevJones

Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams in True Detective season 2

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Off the wall: the cast of ‘Life in Squares’

TV
Arts and Entertainment

Books And it is whizzpopping!

Arts and Entertainment
Bono throws water at the crowd while the Edge watches as they perform in the band's first concert of their new world tour in Vancouver

MusicThey're running their own restaurants

Voices
The main entrance to the BBC headquarters in London
TV & Radio
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

    Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
    Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

    Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
    Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

    Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

    David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
    Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

    Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

    A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
    10 best DSLRs

    Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

    Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
    Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

    Solved after 200 years

    The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

    Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

    Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
    Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

    Sunken sub

    Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

    Age of the selfie

    Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
    Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

    Not so square

    How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
    Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

    Still carrying the torch

    The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

    The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

    ...but history suggests otherwise
    The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

    The bald truth

    How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
    Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

    Tour de France 2015

    Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
    Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

    A new beginning for supersonic flight?

    Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash