…currently has his first solo London exhibition, at the Hua Gallery, Battersea (until December 20).

Sheng Qi is perhaps most remembered for cutting off the little finger of his left hand following the events in Tianaman Square in 1989. Thematically, self-mutilation as a concept has persisted in his work, which includes painting, photography, sculpture and performance art.

I have yet to see the current exhibition, but it appears that political protest persists in his work.

With some irony perhaps, the opening of the exhibition coincides this week with the communist party conference in Beijing, and also with a week in which we have witnessed both a democratically elected US president and the ‘re-election’, by the army and party members only, of the Chinese head of state.

Depressingly and tragically, since Sheng Qi’s defiant act in 1989, little appears to have progressed in terms of political freedom in China…