Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei has collaborated with British phone accessory company goo.ey and Amnesty International to create a series of 176 smartphone cases printed with his Lego portraits of prisoners of conscience: people jailed or exiled for their political or religious beliefs, race, or sexual orientation. Ai calls his portrait subjects the “heroes of our time.” They include Martin Luther King, Jr., Nelson Mandela, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Ai Weiwei himself.
The portraits were created entirely out of Lego bricks for Ai’s exhibit @Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz. The large-scale piece, called Trace, draws inspiration from the artist’s own experience as a political prisoner. Previously confined to an exhibition space, Ai’s artwork will now be in thousands of hands, seen every day, a reminder of the plight of political prisoners and a subtle call to action.