Ai Weiwei Finally Gets His Passport back!
Huge news came out of the art world as famed Chinese artist and activist Ai Weiwei finally got his passport back. While trying to catch a flight to Hong Kong in 2011, Ai was arrested for charges of tax evasion, fined $2.4 million and kept in custody for 81 days. Now, after waiting 600 days, Ai can finally leave the country.
Ai had been forced to work remotely from his studio for many of his exhibitions across the globe. The artist has always believed that the case against him was a result of his more radical pieces critiquing the Chinese government. He told the NY Times that he doesn’t know why he received his passport now, but “I only can say why not? They have promised for the past four years to give it back. Now finally they gave it to me.”
During his time on lockdown, Ai started a performance project called With Flowers. Everyday he would put a bouquet of flowers in front of his Beijing studio. Yesterday the artist posted a picture of the bike flowerless and a selfie with his returned passport. Congrats to Ai Weiwei and we hope to see him all over the world soon!
Photos from Ai Weiwei’s Instagram and Matthew Niederhauser/ INSTITUTE