I was doing twitter things at the weekend when I came across the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei posting a hashtag flowersforfreedom. I knew the artist had been imprisoned in 2011 by the Chinese authorities for work which was critical of the regime, but what I had not realised was that Mr Ai had his passport taken away and therefore his right to travel has been removed. This is a harsh form of censorship in the contemporary art world, meaning that he cannot travel to venues to make and show work, which for an artist of his standing would be considered fundamental. Despite the travel ban he has had work in Alcatraz prison in San Francisco and in this year’s Venice Biennale.
FlowersForFreedom is the artist’s protest against his travel ban. Each morning he places fresh flowers in the carrier of a bicycle outside his studio in Beijing, photographs the flowers noting the date of the photo. He has taken this protest onto the internet in the form of the twitter hashtag, which people around the world are taking up. If enough people support Mr Ai, the Chinese government will come under increasing pressure to lift their ban. Today’s flower is honeysuckle from K’s garden. Please share.