/Chinese artist offers to buy 30-ton button mountain worth £1.5m

Chinese artist offers to buy 30-ton button mountain worth £1.5m

Dissident Chinese artist offers to buy 30-ton button mountain worth £1.5m from 104-year-old factory set to close

  • Ai Weiwei has offered to buy 30 tons of buttons from Brown and Co Buttons  
  • The contemporary artist known for pouring 100m porcelain sunflower seeds 
  • Ai was detained for 81 days during a crackdown on activists in China in 2011

Eleanor Harding for the Daily Mail

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has offered to buy 30 tons of buttons from a 104-year-old factory before it closes.

Brown & Co Buttons in Croydon, south London, is shutting after a slump in sales.

It was left with £1.5million of buttons and managers feared they would be dumped. But after the factory pleaded for help on social media, the contemporary artist, known for pouring 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds into the Tate Modern in 2010, tweeted: ‘Can I have them all?’

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has offered to buy 30 tons of buttons from a 104-year-old factory before it closes

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has offered to buy 30 tons of buttons from a 104-year-old factory before it closes

Dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has offered to buy 30 tons of buttons from a 104-year-old factory before it closes

It led to speculation the buttons could be used for a sequel to that installation.

Yesterday Sarah Janalli, from the Brown family, said she had not yet responded to his message because she had been inundated with requests. ‘We know for sure that no buttons will go into landfill, which is amazing,’ she told The Independent.

Ai was detained for 81 days during a crackdown on activists in China in 2011.

Ai was detained for 81 days during a crackdown on activists in China in 2011.

Ai was detained for 81 days during a crackdown on activists in China in 2011.

Ai was detained for 81 days during a crackdown on activists in China in 2011.

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