Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei poses with his passport in Beijing. He should now be able to attend a retrospective of his work at London’s Royal Academy of Art in September. Photograph: Ai Weiwei/Reuters

Chinese dissident artist and free speech advocate Ai Weiwei said that authorities in Beijing returned his passport on Wednesday, more than four years (...)

Art and politics: Sean Scully. Photograph courtsey of Sean Scully Studio, New York

Sean Scully is what some people might call a man’s man. This year the artist will celebrate his 70th birthday. He’s tall, lean and broad-shouldered, w(...)

Enjoy a classic Beijing specialty at Duck de Chine.  Photograph: Adam Dean/The New York Times
Weekend in . . . Beijing
  • Travel
  • March 21, 2015, 01:30

It seems like only yesterday that Beijing had its much-ballyhooed “coming out” party – the 2008 Summer Olympics – but things don’t slow down much i(...)

Protesters hold a picture of Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 2009, after a Chinese court had handed down an 11-year sentence on subversion charges after he had called for sweeping political reforms. The Nobel Peace Prize winner remains in prison. Photograph: Kin Cheung/AP

When President Michael D Higgins shakes the hand of his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Beijing next week, the two leaders will have much in commo(...)

Dog days: from Ciarán Healy’s DIT series The Familiar Wolf

Who would want to study to be a visual artist these days? To gain an academic qualification you work for an indefinite number of years before emerging(...)

Toronto, Canada is a city of contrasts. Photographs: Ian Willms
Oh Toronto
  • Travel
  • March 15, 2014, 01:00

When I tell my friends in Toronto how much I love their city, they often say, “Really?” I always assume they imagine I’m just trying to be grac(...)

 A handout picture released by the Perez Art Museum shows the installation by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei. A local artist picked up one of the vases, allegedly worth $1million  and smashed it on the floor. Photograph:  EPA/Daniel Azoulay/ Perez Art Museum Miami.

Officials at Perez Art Museum in Miami have confirmed that a valuable vase by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei was destroyed by a visitor in (...)

A TV screen shows a news report of disgraced politician Bo Xilai standing in the courtroom, flanked by police guards, at Jinan Intermediate People’s Court on Thursday. Photograph; Vincent Yu/AP

Foreign journalists are not allowed to enter the court to report China’s trial of the century, that of former Communist Party superstar Bo Xilai on gr(...)

A scene from Jimmy, one of the five films nominated for the Irish Council for Civil Liberties Human Rights Film Awards A still from Jimmy

On Thursday, the fifth annual Irish Council for Civil Liberties Human Rights Film Awards will take place. The entries range from a film set in Benghaz(...)

Pete Quaife, Mick Avory, Ray Davies and Dave Davies of The Kinks, at the London Transport Museum in 1964 (Photo by Chris Walter/WireImage)

July, 1964, a hot summer evening. Inside the IBC Recording Studios in central London, Dave Davies is frustrated. Brother Ray has written a riff for th(...)