How One Artist Will Mark Liu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize

NEXT WEEK, TO MARK THE NOBEL PEACE PRIZE CEREMONY, Taiwanese artist Vincent J.F. Huang will stage a performance piece called Habeas Corpus. It speaks directly to Liu Xiaobo’s imprisonment and comments on China’s human rights record.

In the performance, planned for December 10, a blindfolded “prisoner” shackled in a traditional Chinese yoke will be paraded on an open horse-drawn cart through the streets of London.

The performance begins at the Tower of London, making stops at the Tate Modern, the Houses of Parliament, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Hyde Park, Speaker’s Corner, and Oxford Street, and finishes up at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Portland Place.

In an interview Huang said, “Most people are afraid of offending China but I am in a unique position, as a resident of Taiwan and as an artist who has a desire to be publicly intelligent. If China is to become the great nation it aspires to be, it needs to learn about basic human rights.”

Huang’s most well publicized works thus far focussed on climate change protests, such as this past February’s “Suicide Penguins,” a work featuring stuffed penguins and polar bears hanging from nooses off the Millennium Bridge in London.

As a Taiwanese artist drawing on his own culture, Huang’s protest promises a powerful statement about human rights in China.

More of Huang’s work will be featured at The Vaad Gallery in December, including bronze medals he created featuring Liu Xiaobo’s words, “I have no enemies—my final statement.”

2 thoughts on “How One Artist Will Mark Liu Xiaobo’s Peace Prize

  1. yeah, that’s brilliant! But instead of using a wagon in London with one china man why don’t you get a really long train with say …a million box cars….for starters so you can include some Irish people in your demonstration about oppressive regimes…maybe a country with a slightly better record on human rights themselves…say…Canada or Switzerland would make a little more sense…surely you must be aware that the English made sport for centuries out of killing Irish folk, destroying their culture, sending them all around the world to be worked to death as indentured servants (worse than slaves…no chance of being freed….no champions of human rights for them…just death) Maybe I’m being hasty…maybe London has issued an apology for England’s own human rights abuses…oh! let’s not forget the Palestinians…touchy subject I know…after all they’ve been “terrorists” ever since Britain and the USA decided to install Israel on their heads…as an opening gesture of goodwill in a long term campaign to systematically dehumanize them…trust me, I sympathize with your cause…just don’t set your little play on one of the main stages for human rights abuses in the world because doing so clearly sends the message to China that Britain is somehow superior in moral fortitude which, I’m afraid, is total bullshit and insulting to anyone with half a brain and a true interest in human rights.

    • I understand completely what you’re saying about Britain and its place in history. This artist happens to be based in London…if he were living and working somewhere else, that’s where he might be staging his protest. He’s making an individual statement, about who he is as a Taiwanese artist, about an issue that affects the Chinese people. In fact I think more needs to be said about human rights in the very countries that abuse them, like the big powerful global north. Get in their faces, that’s what I say. Also, protesting in large cities where there is media increases the chance that your voice will be heard and message spread.

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