Posters for LiuXiaobo
Melbourne, Sydney, Beijing, Ottawa, New York City, Taiwan, Auckland, Dublin
On July 12, as Liu Xiaobo was in his final hours of life and Chinese authorities had made clear they wouldn’t allow the imprisoned Nobel Peace Prize laureate to go abroad for medical treatment, Baiducao headed to the public art alley on Hosier Lane in Melbourne, Australia to hang a commemorative poster and “Free Liu Xiaobo” sign. After Liu’s death, the Melbourne-based artist is continuing his “Art for Liu Xiaobo” campaign, calling on his fans and Liu Xiaobo supporters worldwide to take it global. In correspondence with CDT Chinese editors, Badiucao explained the campaign:
Mr. Liu Xiaobo’s fatal illness has sent me to the Melbourne streets to launch a commemorative poster campaign. After the 13th, the sadness of Xiaobo’s passing and anger with the ruthless treatment from authorities has led me to continue the “posters for Xiaobo” campaign and appeal to society for help. Perhaps art is the best way to pay homage to Liu Xiaobo, a doctor of aesthetics, art can also influence all people around.
I have created these Liu Xiaobo and Liu Xia cartoons, which are the main pieces I plan to post on the streets.
On July 12 in Australia, I launched a Support Liu Xiaobo street art movement (at that time the state of Xiaobo’s illness was getting extremely severe). The entire process was very simple, seek out a legal and local graffiti site, and put up posters of Mr. Liu Xiaobo. This was just for self-expression, but the next day I discovered Melbourne residents had filled the alley with flowers, in one evening what began as one poster in the city center had turned into a corner for investing support and thoughts. Perhaps Dr. Liu is feeling comforted in heaven.
Flowers are already filling the alley at the Hosier Lane #LiuXiaobo commemorative graffiti spot. Tourists were constantly snapping pictures while coming and going, some of them took the initiative to stop for a moment and read the introduction to Liu Xiaobo, some wrote a brief note, some lit a long-life candle.
On July 16, Badiucao thanked his Twitter friends for replicating his efforts at the Sydney University Graffiti Tunnel, and promised to make his art available for more commemorative spaces elsewhere:
True to his promise, Badiucao has uploaded multi-panel versions of his artwork on Google Drive to be printed and posted in cities around the world in commemoration of Liu Xiaobo. Badiucao also invites other artists to supply their designs for the campaign via Twitter.
So far I’ve already constructed and arranged a set of tutorials available to download, print, and use to friends across the world—I even invite those in China to join in. Use these to establish a commemorative space for Liu Xiaobo. Mr. Liu Xiaobo’s remains are already at sea, but his soul will forever be on this earth.
To start a commemorative space in your city, find a legal graffiti wall, visit Badiucao’s collection of printable posters on Google Drive, and follow his print and paste instructions (in Chinese, or follow similar instructions for wheat-pasting in English). Once the art is hung, take a picture and tweet it to @Badiucao.
2017 Single bed, 4000 pencils
In the arresting installation Meng (Dream)(2017), Badiucao evokes the troubled sleep of the activist artist. He presents a mattress of four thousand hand-sharpened pencils, on the very bed frame he has slept on during his exile in Australia. The pencils have been shipped en masse from Fuzhou, China and laboriously taken to by the artist with a knife – each one whittled down to a point sharp enough to pierce the skin. The title refers to the ‘Chinese Dream’, the lexicon employed by Xi Jinping as the embodiment of his political ideology; young people should ‘dare to dream, work assiduously to fulfill the dreams and contribute to the revitalisation of the nation’.2 The work can be read as non-cooperation with the government and a representation of the price a dissident can pay for speaking out. As an artist-in-exile, Badiucao does not rest easy.
Why Do They Buy Out Our Baby Formula
2016 Baby formula, aerosol paint
Domestic baby formula is not trusted in China because of its horrible reputation since 2008, possibly earlier. It is killing children and Chinese peoples’ trust in their social system. Australian shops have recently put a cap on the amount of baby formula that people can purchase because people keep buying out the formula and sending it to China so that families can feed their children formula that won’t poison them. It is a food safety crisis, there are babies dying. By stenciling the faces of some of the children who have perished after consuming the tainted baby formula, it is simply giving the victims a face again, re-humanising them. Stenciled onto rubbish bin liners in baby formula, the faces of children who have perished become forgotten as the formula slowly distorts as wind blows their faces unrecognisable. This ephemeral installation outlines the disposability of life and how our global economy can cause ethnic dilemmas that stretch worldwide.
2016, Found Objects
After becoming an Australian citizen, Badiucao was asked to send his Chinese passport to the Chinese embassy in Canberra for reviewing. It was returned with several pages cut at the top right hand side of the pages, making his passport useless, it had been cancelled. This act is common, it isn’t possible to hold dual citizenship therefore, becoming an Australian citizen immediately meant that he had to say goodbye to China.
A passport is an internationally recognised document stating your identity. To make it exempt, destroy it, is to destroy part of the holders identity. It is a demeaning act that has caused psychological trauma for many Chinese migrants. To further emphasise this Badiucao has taken objects that he believes are closely related to his life and habits in China and has cut them in the same fashion as his passport highlighting the obscure and ongoing internal conflict a new Chinese Australian citizen must go through once their connections with China have been cut. He could possibly be in physical danger if he ever does return to China.
One Tank Man
June 4, 2016
I choose art to resist — to fight terror and to remember. I once drew the Tank Man, and I also have Tank Man tattoo. This year I decided to use performance art to bring the Tank Man back.
Next year I hope I will not be alone, and there will be more “Tank Men” in Australia and elsewhere. I’d like to see this form of June 4th remembrance spread: it’s simple, calm, and powerful.
Don Dale Play Group
I tie myself up in a public space as the poor kids had been through in Don Dale youth detention center, Darwin, Australia.
And i invite strangers to come and sit with me for making toys out of cable ties and talking about Don Dale.