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Human rights campaigners Amnesty International recently invited Maarten Baas to design a piece that would support their campaign against the increased suppression of writers, journalists and activists.
The Empty Chair was the result. The invitation to Baas, and the subsequent chair, is also in honour of the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo.
Xiaobo received this prestigious recognition in 2010 for his peaceful battle for fundamental human rights. Sadly Xiaobo was not able to accept the prize in prison, where he is serving an eleven-year sentence for “undermining the state”.
Baas’s Empty Chair is thus a symbol of repression. Standing five metres tall, the chair was presented at the 50th anniversary of Amnesty International this past weekend. The Empty Chair will soon be available in the form of an exclusive pin.