Date: 4th June 2019
By: James Griffiths, CNNHong Kong
For years, Chinese artist Badiucao has operated anonymously, wearing a mask whenever he appears in public. But now, on the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown, he has revealed his face for the very first time.
Badiucao's name is a pseudonym adopted years ago, when he began posting caustic political cartoons lampooning the Chinese Communist Party online. He was quickly banned from Chinese social media and forced to operate outside the Great Firewall, China's vast online censorship apparatus.
In 2009, Badiucao moved to Australia, where he has since become a citizen, renouncing his Chinese passport. But even then, he did not reveal his identity. Like the UK-based graffiti artist Banksy, he operated in the shadows, carrying out most of his work online or on the streets, and only appearing at exhibitions in heavy disguise.
During the filming of a documentary about his work — which aired Tuesday night on Australian television — Badiucao and director Danny Ben-Moshe initially went to extreme measures to maintain this secrecy. At home in Melbourne and during a year working with world famous Chinese artist Ai Weiwei in Berlin, Ben-Moshe filmed Badiucao from behind, or in disguise, taking care to avoid anything that could be used by the Chinese authorities to identify him.
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"Most of the shots were of my back, avoiding showing the shape of my body," Badiucao told CNN in a phone interview. "We were also aware of showing my fingerprints or the shape of my ear. AI technology has evolved so much that I was worried even a bit of my body could compromise my identity." [FULL STORY]