The dissident Chinese artist will travel for a landmark exhibition of his work in September. Chinese state media is reporting that Ai Weiwei, the artists and dissident, has been released from prison because of his good attitude in confessing tax crimes.
Date: 22 Jul 2015
By: By Anita Singh, Arts & Entertainment Editor
The artist, best known for designing Beijing’s Olympic stadium and filling Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall with ceramic sunflower seeds, is an outspoken critic of China’s human rights record.
He was arrested and imprisoned in April 2011 as he boarded a Beijing flight bound for Hong Kong, prompting a global campaign leading to his release.
His Royal Academy show is scheduled to run from September 19-December 13, coinciding with a state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping in October. Ai’s non-attendance at the exhibition would have generated unwanted headlines during the trip, when President Xi will be a guest at Buckingham Palace.
Weiwei announced the news by posting a picture of his passport on Instagram.
“They’ve said they would return me my passport for many years. They’ve never said they would never give it to me, except that it has dragged on for four years,” the 57-year-old said.
He could not say what had prompted the authorities to take the decision, but “now that they’ve let me go abroad, I believe they will let me return home”. [FULL STORY]