PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Chinese dissident artist known as Badiucao shows his support for Ukraine in new work that has gone on show in Prague, while also taking aim at the leaders of Russia and China.
The China-born political cartoonist and artist, who goes by a pseudonym and has drawn comparisons to graffiti artist Banksy, presents six paintings on the Ukraine war collectively entitled “The Butterfly Effect of Kyiv” at Prague’s DOX gallery.
The paintings include one of a tank with the “Z” sign used by Russian forces on their armoured vehicles, and a girl in a Ukrainian folk costume putting a sunflower into the tank’s barrel.
There is also a portrait combining the images of Russian leader Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping, while another piece depicts Xi nursing Putin.
“Most of the work is dedicated to the very brave fighters and civilians from Ukraine,” Badiucao told Reuters.
“But of course it points out who is responsible for the war, who is the criminal behind it.”
The paintings are part of an exhibition, called “MADe IN CHINA”, which also includes some of Badiucao’s older works in which he has addressed human rights and other issues in China and elsewhere.
The exhibition by the artist, who now lives in Australia, has already drawn an official protest from the Chinese embassy in Prague, DOX curator Michaela Silpochova said.
“They called directly on my mobile phone and requested not to organise this exhibition because, as they said, it will harm relations between Czech Republic and China and deeply touches on their sensibilities,” she said.
The Chinese embassy did not respond to an emailed request for comment.
Russia calls its invasion of Ukraine a “special operation” to rid the country of fascists – an assertion Kyiv and its Western allies say is a baseless pretext for an unprovoked war.
The “MADe IN CHINA” exhibition runs until Aug. 28.
(Reporting by Jiri Skacel, writing by Jan Lopatka, editing by Susan Fenton)