Artist Ai Weiwei Arrested and Missing In China

The artist, Ai Weiwei,best known for his collaboration on the Bird’s Nest Olympic Stadium in Beijing has been arrested in China again. Ai was arrested at the airport as he was going through immigration. The authorities separated him from the people accompanying him and turned off his mobile phone. It was also reported that eight of his studio workers were arrested at his studio in the northwestern Beijing district of Caochangdi. They were questioned for several hours before being released. The police visited the studio several times last week in an attempt to intimidate the artist and his supporters.Dozens of police officers also raided the hotel rooms of supporters of Tan Zuore on Wednesday morning in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan Province. They were there to testify on behalf of Tan Zuore a well-known writer and human-rights advocate on trial, charged with subversion. The group had also been planning an event, in June to commemorate the anniversary of the massacre of civilians by government forces, during the Tiananmen Square protests.

Weiwei’s London profile was significantly raised when he won the Unilever sponsored exhibit in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. His Sunflower seed installation was internationally praised. It has also been a turbulent year for his other activities as a leading spokesman for China’s pro-democracy movement. In the last year he has been placed under house arrest in his residence in Beijing, had his studio destroyed and was asaulted by police, which resulted in a lengthly hospital stay.

Weiwei is due to come to London for his first solo show at the Lisson Gallery.Which runs from 13 May to 16 July. He will present his show of sculptural and video works at the same gallery as Anish Kapoor,Tony Cragg and Ryan Gander. This will be a chance to view a number of key works by the artist, one of the most significant cultural figures of his generation, both in China and internationally. He is also expected in New York in the first week of May to unveil the new project with Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, and to receive an award from the Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture.

All the other dissidents  have now been released but Weiwei has continued to be detained by the Chinese authorities with no explanation, his whereabouts unknown.


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