Artist Ai Weiwei is free once again to travel outside of China, following the return of his passport, The Guardian reports. The return caps a four year ordeal for the artist following his arrest for alleged tax evasion in 2011.
The dissident artist’s confiscation and arrest has since served as something of a catalyst in his recent art practice, with a number of works actively documenting his abuse and imprisonment at the hands of government officials. “When I got it back I felt my heart was at peace,” the artist told the Guardian on Wednesday afternoon. “I feel pleased. This was something that needed to be done. I was quite frustrated when my right to travel was taken away but now I feel much more positive about my condition.”
Ai Weiwei, Grapes (2004), via Faurschou Foundation Copenhagen
Some close to the Chinese government felt that the return of the artist’s passport was overdue, and that the Party had hinted at these actions earlier this year when it allowed the artist to have his first exhibitions in Beijing in several years. Ai’s first trip will reportedly be to Germany, where his son has been living since last year.
Read more at The Guardian