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.”