After being denied exit from his home country of China since 2011, artist Ai Weiwei was given his passport back.

Weiwei was placed in confinement for tax evasion in April of 2011. He was detained in a 12 by 24 foot room by the Chinese government, where he sustained questioning about his work, psychological torture, and around the clock surveillance.


A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on

Ai Weiwei is known as one of China's most outspoken critical voices. After 81 days in confinement, he was subjected to house arrest where he chronicled his daily life via public surveillance cameras. For each day without freedom, he also introduced a new bouquet of flowers.

Although several shows and lectures were scheduled on his behalf at institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum and the New Yorker Festival, he never made them due to his restrictions.

A major survey of Ai Weiwei's works is set to open at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in London in September, which he plans to attend.



 Cuban artist Tania Bruguera was also granted access to her passport by the government a week ago. Bruguera was detained during a performance at the most recent Havana Biennial.

 China has a history of detaining critical creative figures. Artist Yan Zhengxue was allegedly locked in a rubber cell in the 1990's by the Chinese government, in which he received electrical shocks and baton beatings for three hours.

 Russian feminist punk collective Pussy Riot has been in the news consistently since their imprisonment by the government.