Hong Kong artists can still find ways to express themselves despite the challenges posed by growing political censorship, leading Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei believes. After years of delay, the city is set to open its M+ museum, touted as Asia’s first global museum of contemporary visual culture, on November 12 as part of the government’s bid to become a global arts and cultural hub.
But fears of increasing censorship under the national security law have cast a shadow over the launch. Already, pro-Beijing voices have called for controls on any artwork that may endanger national security and artists have left the city, citing the need for greater freedom.
The museum’s online collection currently features 28 of Ai’s works, donated by Swiss collector Uli Sigg. One photograph from his “Study of Perspective” series, which features the artist pointing his middle finger at cultural monuments across the world, is currently under “government review.” It shows the artist’s middle finger pointed at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.