A Prague art gallery has unveiled a brass bust of the late Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo to mark the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

“It’s his first bust in the world so far,” Hana Janisova, spokeswoman for the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art, told AFP.

A tourist takes a photo of a bust of Chinese dissident, writer and Nobel Peace Prize holder Liu Xiaobo, made by Czech sculptress Marie Seborova and displayed on April 17, 2019 at the Dox Centre for Contemporary Art in Prague as part of an exhibition marking the 30th anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre. Photo: Michal Cizek/AFP.

A joint project of Amnesty International, Art for Amnesty, Humanitarian China and Dox, the bust by Czech sculptress Marie Seborova was unveiled on Monday as part of an exhibition marking the anniversary.

Liu, a writer and philosopher, veteran of the Tiananmen protests and the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner, died of liver cancer at age 61 in 2017 after serving several prison terms for his activities.

Liu’s widow Liu Xia, a 58-year-old poet, had been expected to take part in the opening ceremony, but she excused herself at the last moment “for serious personal reasons,” said Janisova.

Liu Xia’s photographs are on display in the same room as the bust. Dox has kept them since an exhibition in 2014 which Liu Xia could not attend because she was under house arrest.

She was put under close police watch tantamount to house arrest after Liu won the Nobel Prize, which infuriated Beijing.

Liu Xia was released and allowed to travel to Germany in 2018.

The images date back to 1996 when Liu Xiaobo was at a labour camp and his wife preferred to communicate with him through her photos depicting dolls to puzzle the guards.

A march for Liu Xiaobo in Hong Kong. File photo: inmediahk.net.

“She was supposed to see them for the first time now but it won’t happen. But we’ll give them to her as a present,” Janisova said of the enlarged versions of her 1996 photographs.

The bust and pictures will be on display until June 4, the exact anniversary of the 1989 Tiananmen massacre in which hundreds of protesters demanding democratic changes lost their lives, Janisova said.

She added the bust would stay at the gallery after the exhibition.

The Hong Kong Free Press #PressForFreedom 2019 Funding Drive seeks to raise HK$1.2m to support our non-profit newsroom and dedicated team of multi-media, multi-lingual reporters. HKFP is backed by readers, run by journalists and is immune to political and commercial pressure. This year’s critical fundraiser will provide us with the essential funds to continue our work into next year.

AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.