Ai Weiwei, China's most renowned dissident artist, has released a new heavy metal song as the first part of his The Divine Comedy music album on Wednesday.
The title of the album is a reference to the 14th century poem by Dante, in which the Florentine writer vividly depicts levels of hell, purgatory and heaven. In Dumbass, Ai tells the story of his own 81-day extrajudicial detention in 2011.
"Being in that environment makes me realise that for these people, the only available release or means to kill time is music," the 55-year-old Beijing-based artist said in a press release.
"I felt deeply sorry that I couldn’t [sing there]. Either I was not in the mood or I didn’t think I could sing. The only songs I knew were the revolutionary ones. It is the same for many Chinese people; we had to memorise every red song. Creating music is a way to break through that situation."
Ai sings his own lyrics to music by Zuoxiao Zuzhou, one of China's most renowned folk singer-songwriters.