Chinese visual artist and human rights activist Ai Weiwei has been touring Yangon for the last couple days, according to his public Instagram account. His photos show that he landed in Yangon yesterday, said hello to a sacred white elephant, hung out with some friends, and visited the Shwedagon Pagoda today.
Ai’s activism in pursuit of human rights and transparency in China made him a target for Chinese authorities throughout the last decade. He had his social media accounts censored, his art studio demolished, and been imprisoned without charge for months at the hand of Chinese authorities before he was finally allowed to leave the country in 2015. He now lives in Berlin and travels extensively.
Living in self-imposed exile, Ai says he considers himself a “high-end refugee.”
His empathy for the victims of the global refugee crisis led him to produce and direct the documentary film Human Flow, which takes the viewer to over 20 countries to hear firsthand stories of refugees, including the Rohingya in Myanmar.
The artist has not announced any public appearances, but he has been receiving some tips from Yangon residents on where to go next, including one recommendation to visit Pyinsa Rasa arts space at the Secretariat.
Here’s a roundup of his trip so far: