In 2011, well-known Chinese contemporary artist Ai Weiwei was detained by the Chinese government in what was widely considered by his supporters to be retaliation for his vocal political activism. While he was only incarcerated for 81 days, his passport was held hostage for four years, and it was only returned to him last July, marking the first time in years he was able to leave China. Ever since then, Weiwei has been traveling, and sharing those travels on Instagram.
This week, he stopped by Mexico City, and took a tour of Tepito, which is home to one of Latin America’s biggest black markets. With over 7,000 vendors selling everything from counterfeit bags to boosted TVs to pirated DVDs, Tepito’s tianguis may have a bad rep amongst most locals but they’re also a source of morbid fascination for some outsiders. On Instagram, Ai Weiwei’s shared photos from the infamous “Barrio Bravo”, converting everyday scenes into something tinged with wonder. Check out some of the shots below: