Liu Xia’s photography to be exhibited in Taipei in March

TAIPEI (CNA) – An exhibition of photographic works by Liu Xia (劉霞), the widow of Chinese democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Liu Xiaobo (劉曉波), will be held at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei in March, the museum’s director said Friday.

The poet and photographer, however, is unlikely to be in Taipei to open the exhibition in person because of concerns that the Chinese authorities might be upset if she visited Taiwan and that this would harm the safety of her brother, who currently lives in Beijing, said director Yuki Pan (潘小雪).

“To avoid the consequence (she is) unwilling to see,” Liu Xia is unable to meet the media freely for the time being, Pan said.

The Liu Xia-Tsai Hai-ru (蔡海如) Joint Exhibition, titled “A Swing of Breath (呼吸鞦韆),” will take place from March 30 to May 26, with Liu’s 26 photos and poems featured alongside installation art works by Tsai, a Taiwanese female artist who, like Liu, had also seen her beloved family member – her father – suffer from political prosecution.

Tsai’s father had been jailed for more than two decades as a political dissident during the “White Terror” era in Taiwan in the 1990s, a period of suppression of political dissidents that followed the anti-government uprising, February 28 Incident, in 1947.

Liu’s photos were shot during a three-year period when her husband was jailed at a labor reeducation camp on a charge of “disturbing the social order,” according to the museum.

Liu Xiaobo was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2010 for “his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China.” He died of cancer in July 2017 in Shenyang, China’s Liaoning Province at the age of 61 while serving an 11-year jail sentence for “inciting subversion of state power.” After her husband’s plight gained further international attention from his winning the Nobel prize, Liu Xia’s photographic works were banned from being exhibited in China and were only shown in private settings or online, according to Pan.

Liu Xia was freed and left Beijing for Europe in July 2018. Altogether, she had suffered through eight years of house arrest, part of which was with her husband and part of which was without.

By Sabine Cheng and Elizabeth Hsu