Ai Weiwei's work as an artist is an amazing blending of concept, craftsmanship and politics, and his work as Chinese dissident has made him a hero of freedom-loving people everywhere. Whether in major museums or on Instagram, his images are statements that fight for political and social outspokenness and are a major part of his ongoing quest for freedom. That quest doesn't end today just because he's had his passport returned after four years of being a virtual hostage in his home, but it's progress.
Speaking to the LA Times, director Alison Klayman, who made a penetrating documentary on the artist's work, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry, points out:
"[The passport] opens up a lot of hard-to-answer questions: What will happen next? Will he be safe to travel abroad and return freely? Why now and why did it take so long? Why was it taken away in the first place?"
Still, today is a day to celebrate.
I reached out to collector and Ai Weiwei friend Larry Warsh, who was with the artist when the passport was delivered: "What an amazing moment it was to be with him. It was joy, exuberance, disbelief and more. Imagine what we take for granted. His patience and preservation paid off and it is is unfolding as we speak."