Lego allows use of bricks in political art projects

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has hailed a change in policy by Lego to allow bulk orders of its toy bricks for projects with a political purpose. He says it is a victory for freedom of expression.

The Lego Group last year refused a bulk order of toy bricks for an exhibition of Ai’s in Melbourne, Australia.

Ai said that was “an act of censorship and discrimination”, but Lego said it had a decades-old policy of not endorsing the use of its bricks in projects with a “political agenda”.

But Lego will no longer ask the “thematic purpose” of a project.

Instead, customers who display their Lego creations in public will be asked to make clear that Lego does not support or endorse them.

Asked whether it was in response to Ai’s case, the toy-maker said it had been asked whether it supported human rights and freedom of expression.

In an email, spokesman Roar Rude Trangbaek wrote: “We always have, and continue to do — this is at the heart of what Lego play is all about. We hope the new guidelines will make it more clear what we stand for.”

The Melbourne exhibition, which opened in December, was to feature 20 portraits of Australian freedom figures made from Lego.

Instead, it used similar bricks from a Chinese company, Ai said.


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