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Photo Exhibit Showcases Silent Strength of Liu Xia

Photo from Liu Xia exhibit at the Boulogne-Billancourt municipal museum in France
Photo from Liu Xia exhibit at the Boulogne-Billancourt municipal museum in France

Liu Xia is best known to the world as the wife of the Nobel Peace Prize-winner and incarcerated Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

But the Boulogne-Billancourt municipal museum in France is hoping to change that impression with a new photo exhibit celebrating Liu Xia's work as a cutting-edge Chinese artist.

Curator and French sinologist Guy Sorman discussed the photos with Liu Xia before she disappeared into virtual house arrest last year, shortly after the Nobel Committee awarded the 2010 peace prize to her jailed husband.

The photos were smuggled out of China, and are on public display for the first time in an exhibit called “The Silent Strength of Liu Xia.”

In an interview with VOA, Sorman says he thinks the black and white photos illustrate Liu Xia's lack of access to more advanced technology, but also consciously evoke the ancient art of Chinese calligraphy. He says people who see the exhibit tend to feel uneasy because the dolls in the photos convey a message that “something is wrong in China.”

Liu Xia is also a poet who at one time regularly posted online comments. She has not been seen or heard from since she was detained last year shortly after her husband Liu Xiaobo won the 2010 Nobel Peace price. Liu Xiaobo, a writer who has spoken out for democracy and free expression in China, was convicted of subversion and is serving an 11-year jail sentence.

Authorities have never publicly charged Liu Xia with a crime. Despite repeated questioning, Chinese authorities have not been able to give any legal reasons for her disappearance.