Chinese dissident artist Badiucao announced his first NFT collection to call for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of the Chinese government’s abuse of human rights and freedom.
Chinese dissident artist Badiucao announced his first NFT collection to call for a boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics in protest of the Chinese government’s abuse of human rights and freedom. The Beijing 2022 collection includes five pieces of art depicting the Chinese government’s oppression of the Tibetan people, the Uyghur genocide, the dismantling of democracy in Hong Kong, the regime’s omnipresent surveillance systems, and lack of transparency surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five pieces will be released as open edition NFTs, available for mint at beijing2022.art beginning February 1, 2022 on Chinese New Year and continuing through the Closing Ceremony of the games. In addition to owning the works, collectors will be able to write their own message of opposition to China’s authoritarian regime onto the blockchain as part of the NFT minting process, preserving it as a public decentralized record of protest.
“I have been battling censorship from China‘s authoritarian regime for more than 10 years,” said Badiucao. “When conventional galleries and venues are too intimidated to exhibit my art due to the threat from Beijing, the Internet has been a last resort for artists like me. NFTs and blockchain technologies not only provide a safe way to offer critical financial support to dissident artists, but serve as an important immutable public record outside of authoritarian tampering and control.”
Badiucao’s Beijing 2022 collection on display at the artist’s solo exhibition in Brescia in November 2021, despite demands from the Chinese Embassy in Rome to cancel the show.
This NFT collection was created by Badiucao as part of the Art in Protest Residency, a collaboration between Gray Area Foundation for the Arts and the Human Rights Foundation. The residency is an opportunity for artists whose art is dedicated to promoting democracy and human rights globally, to explore and expand their digital practices. Throughout the residency, artists-in-residence develop projects that use art and technology to create social and civic impact. In addition to Badiucao, the inaugural cohort of artists includes Belarusian illustrator and graphic designer Lilia Kvatsabaya, and Cuban performance artist Luis Manuel Otero Alcántara.
The proceeds of the sale will go to benefit the artist’s continued activism, and sustain the Art in Protest Residency.
The collection was initially released at the New World Center’s Soundscape Park as part of the 2021 Oslo Freedom Forum in Miami. It was subsequently canvased at various locations around Miami during Art Basel Miami Beach 2021, as part of a campaign to raise awareness among the global art community about the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the weaponization of global sports events by authoritarian regimes to conceal their human rights abuses.
Badiucao’s Beijing 2022 collection was posted in various locations across Miami, from November 28 - December 11, 2021.
“Art in Protest supports dissident artists by giving them a platform to use their art to expose the abuses of authoritarian regimes,” said Holly Baxter, Executive Director of Art in Protest at HRF and Gray Area Board Member. “Through the Art in Protest Residency program, we are thrilled to host a safe and innovative space for artists who speak truth to power with their art, and support their efforts to make an impact in the global struggle against authoritarianism.”
Badiucao is an exiled Chinese dissident artist based in Australia whose work has taken on a wide variety of forms, including political cartoons, installations, street art, and performances. His art is renowned for denouncing human rights abuses and the suppression of free speech in China. After years of using a pseudonym, he decided to reveal his face and accept on-camera media interviews in the documentary China’s Artful Dissident, after several of his family members started receiving threats from the government. Today, his artwork is at the forefront of raising awareness about human rights abuses in mainland China, as well as Hong Kong, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Burma. Badiucao has received global acclaim for his work, including the 2021 The Amnesty International Australia Media Awards Cartoon, the 2020 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent and the 2019 Courage In Cartooning Award. He was an inaugural artist-in-residence of HRF and Gray Area Foundation for the Arts’ Art in Protest Residency program.
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