Friday, 11 December 2015

Liberté Egalité Fraternité ... Not

In June 2011, the Chinese artist Shi Xiang, receives a notification of non-renewal of her French residence permit and notifying her of her obligation to leave French territory within thirty days, this after living 10 years in France.

Liberty, Equality, Fraternity By Shi Xiang

She had been married to a Frenchman, but following their divorce, she has to renew her temporary residence permit, and it could not be done as a "French joint", but now only on the basis of her activity i.e. "artistic and cultural profession" worthiness.

As it turns out, her artistic revenues did not reach the amount required for a successful permit renewal under this criterion, so her residence permit was denied, and she was arrested within one month of the notification to leave French territory.

She was shocked, and left with a feeling of being naked, being alone, facing an administration that had left her with only 30 days to leave behind her life. She launched an administrative appeal, and won, so she was able to renew her visa. But her faith in the words of the Republic was shaken.

In protest at this episode, she produced this self-portrait diptych entitled "Liberté Egalité Fraternité" ..... the meaning of those words are not always applied with common sense, even in the land of their birth.


  1. Is a photograph porn but a painting not? It's funny how painted naked flesh is not a problem but a photograph would be.

    1. Well I hope no one is offended by a touch of painted flesh (all in the best possible taste of course ). Thanks for the comment.

  2. She would never be deported in the UK. So the painting would never have been painted.

    1. History turns on small events as well as big ones.

      For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
      For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
      For want of a horse the battle was lost;
      For the failure of battle the kingdom was lost—
      All for the want of a horse-shoe nail.

      Thanks for the comment.


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