A day after privately unveiling artwork of homage to the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Guo Jian was put in Chinese prison. Fortunately, the artwork, and a deeply revelatory interview, made it into the pages of the Financial Times before the arrest.
Guo’s diorama of Tiananmen Square covered in over 350 lbs of pig meat, along with his account of the Massacre, are believed to be what led to his arrest. Police have since destroyed the artwork. Chinese police destroying a depiction of Tiananman Square is encapsulated in this quote from art writer Madeleine O’Dea: “How ironic. They completed the Tiananmen art work perfectly.”
Perhaps the pig meat covering Tiananmen represents the bodies of all the people who died that day. Guo personally witnessed stacks of dead bodies, piled up in the street outside the hospital. Guo himself, barely missed the cascade of bullets which struck those around him. In the Financial Times interview, he narrates one of his narrow escapes: “There was no way out for me,” he says.
“But then something really funny happened. A gust of wind blew some tear gas towards the soldiers. They couldn’t see anything and I just ran. That’s how I escaped.”‘
Guo’s experience in 1989 at Tiananmen led to many sleepless nights. He found peace through art. But on the 25th Anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre, Guo is one of many who the Chinese government recently detained. Police are claiming Guo’s visa is invalid, and are looking to deport him to Australia, where he also holds citizenship.