On the eve of his latest show in Europe Ai Weiwei has released the video below, in which he calls upon Chinese authorities to return his passport. The artist had his passport confiscated by Chinese authorities three years ago for reasons that were never explained to him.
Throughout his career, Ai has been outspoken about political injustices in his home country, and in 2011 he was imprisoned for 81 days in a Chinese prison under questionable charges.
In the video Ai says he needs his passport to travel to Berlin for a show at Martin-Gropius-Bau, opening on April 3. The exhibition, called Evidence, will be Ai's largest solo show to date and includes an outdoor installation of 6,000 stools.
The artist also needs his passport to travel to San Francisco for an installation at Alcatraz Island. Meanwhile, proceeds from the poster of Ai Weiwei by Shepard Fairey that we wrote about earlier in the week will be donated to Friends of Ai Weiwei, an organization working for the return of the artist's passport. In a press conference in Berlin last Wednesday, the art community called for the Chinese government to allow Ai to travel freely.
If you'd like to trace the beginnings of how this great Chinese artist became such an important figure in the art world and to gain a greater insight into his life and work, pick up a copy of our Ai Weiwei monograph, here.