The wait is over. Time Out’s writers and editors have named their 20 most influential figures of 2011. Ranging from the creative to the most innovative, these people made a significant difference to London in the past 12 months.
‘When Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was unceremoniously arrested on April 3 and detained for almost three months, the art world responded vociferously. Fittingly for the capture of such a prolific blogger and online activist, a global social media campaign was launched and ‘Release Ai Weiwei’ went up in giant letters on the windows of Tate Modern, while Ai’s ‘Sunflowers Seeds’ installation still littered the Turbine Hall below. Even in absentia, he had two more major shows in London this year and was named an honorary Royal Academician as well as the most influential person on Art Review magazine’s annual Power 100 list. Upon his release and subsequent house arrest (on charges of tax evasion), it seemed the Arab Spring would eclipse coverage of the Jasmine Revolution entirely, but the artist soon began defying the Chinese authorities by speaking out and giving press interviews once more. He will remain a symbol of hope and a frictional force against oppression as long as he lives.’ Ossian Ward, Visual Arts editor
See the other People of the Year. Who have we missed? Comment below.