Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posted a photo on Instagram yesterday of him holding a passport. The words accompanying the post: “Today, I got my passport”.
Ai was arrested in 2011 at a Beijing airport, where he was famously detained and interrogated for 81 days. He was released and charged with tax evasion. He has said that his persecution is the result of his public criticism of China’s government, and particularly his investigation into the thousands of children who died in collapsed school during the 2008 Sichuan province earthquake.
He said that his first trip would be to Germany, where his six-year old son has lived since last year.
What this also means is that – as long as Australia grants him a visa – its now possible that Ai can travel to Melbourne for the major exhibition of his work alongside Andy Warhol’s at the NGV in December. Ai is yet to release a statement about this.