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A forbidden portrait, illegally painted in China. The Tibetan people in China are not allowed to celebrate the Dalai Lama’s birthday and Chinese authorities have reinforced the ban on pictures of His Holiness. This is why Made in China was created. Without knowing, 16 artists in China painted a piece of the portrait of the Dalai Lama. They were invited to produce ‘abstract’ impressionistic oil paintings, based on photos uploaded onto their websites. Each picture was a part of the portrait, but was rotated and named like ‘Love’, ‘Free’ and ‘Motivated’. Together the Chinese painters created an illegal iconic painting, symbolizing peace and unity in many different ways. The titles of the 16 paintings together form a quote of the Dalai Lama:"The more you are motivated by love, the more fearless and free your action will be".

When the Dalai Lama visited the Netherlands in September 2018, the painting Made in China was on view at Rotterdam Ahoy. It became a popular selfie spot.

The lectures on both days were sold out and very inspiring.

It was super exciting to meet with the Dalai Lama again after four years.

On view during IJssel Biennial, June-September 2017, artist talk

Installing is quiet a challange, being afraid of heights, Art Zaanstad 2015

'Big art', Art Zaanstad 2015

Meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama

May 12 2014, Rotterdam

During the visit of the Dalai Lama, from May 10 - 12 in Rotterdam,
the Netherlands, I was given the opportunity to present a small
reproduction of Made in China, the in China illegally painted
portrait of the Dalai Lama, to His Holiness as a gift. He received the original painting for his birthday, it was shipped to Dharamsala.

Tsering Jampa (director of International Campaign for Tibet)
explained to him how the painting was created. The Dalai Lama
smiled and said: "Thank you".

Read the article in Boeddhistisch Dagblad (Dutch)

Article in Tibet.nu, the Dalai Lama edition

Magazine Tibet.nu, June 2014

PDF-bestandDownload the article (Dutch). Thank you, Ruud Posthuizen!

Made in China at Boeddha in de Linie

On display until June 14, 2014, at Kunstfort Asperen

Made in China at Art in Redlight 9

Installing Made in China measuring 3 x 4 meters (120 x 160 inch) at
Art in Redlight, December 26-30 2013, in the Beurs van Berlage, Amsterdam.

December 24 2013, newspaper Het Parool:

Art in Redlight in de Beurs van Berlage is all about more and large

Giant sized Dalai Lama on display

December 29 2013, newspaper Boeddhistisch Dagblad (Dutch):

Giant portrait of Dalai Lama big succes

December 27 2013, art blog Online Galerij (Dutch):

Made in China by Airco Caravan


Celebrating the Dalai Lama's birthday in Amsterdam

Bicycle tour trough Amsterdam to create awareness for the situation in Tibet

Tibetan Community gathered in Ruigoord, Amsterdam to celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday

Chinese embassy refuses Dalai Lama portrait

Artist Airco Caravan and a group of Tibetans offered the birthday cake as a gesture, to celebrate Dalai Lama's 78th birthday. But after ringing the door bell for at least five times, a guard came outside, closed the gate and locked it. Thanks to the media this unfriendly welcome was captured and broadcasted internationally. The event was part of the art project 'Made in China'.

Listen to the radio report:

> AudioNTR Radio: Dichtbij Nederland, Radio 5, by Sam Jones, July 5 2013 (Dutch, 5:59)


Report of the Dalai Lama campaign at the Chinese embassy (4:45), July 5 2013:


November 6 2013, newspaper Het Parool:

Amsterdam Art Calendar for a daily portion of art

Article by Kees Keijer on the Great Amsterdam Art Calendar 2014 with art from 365 Amsterdam based artists. Starring 'Made in China'. PDF-bestandRead the article (PDF 4,5 MB)

November 2 2013,

Launch of the Great Amsterdam Art Calendar 2014

A large daily calender with artwork of 365 Amsterdam based artists. Measures 30 x 34 cm (12 x 13").
Order at shop.parool.nl


Report by Boeddhistisch Dagblad by Joop Ha Hoek (Dutch, 9:11), July 5 2013:


Impression of the Vernisage of Made in China (Dutch, 2:44), June 21 2013:


News item by Reuters:
Broadcasted internationally,
> view low resolution clip


Haarlems Dagblad July 6 2013:

Ludic protest for Dalai Lama

Because of the Dalai Lama's 78th birthday, two Tibetan cyclists and artist Airco Caravan organised a happening to get attention for the Chinese violation of human rights in Tibet. With 'Made in China', an illegal painting of the Dalai Lama painted in China, they cycled to the Chinese embassy in The Hague.


More coverage of the event (Dutch):
> www.omroepwest.nl
> denhaagFM.nl
> boeddhistischdagblad.nl


Article on page 3 in Dutch newspaper Trouw, July 5 2013:

The Dalai Lama has been painted in China: in sixteen pieces

Client: I said the eye was my grandpa's, who passed away.

Henny de Lange
Images of the Dalai Lama are banned in China. But still artist Ine Wallis de Vries made sixteen painting companies create a portrait of the Tibetan leader in exile. The paining is on display in a gallery in Amsterdam, as a symbolic birthday present for the Dalai Lama, who will become 78 years old tomorrow. The artist, working under the name of Airco Caravan, wants to draw attention to the oppressed Tibetan people in China.
She never expected her ruse would succeed, she says. Half a year ago she sent a picture of the Dalai Lama to China, cut in sixteen pieces. The parts were send to sixteen different studios, asking them to make an 'abstract impressionistic' painting, sized 30 by 40 centimeters. China has countless painting studios specialized in painting family portraits but also masterpieces by Van Gogh and Rembrandt. One by one she received the paintings. Together they form the portrait of the Dalai Lama, 'Made in China'.
But she had to lie a lot. She got phone calls: Why paint just one eye? And why paint a part of an ear? "I had to improvise; I made up the eye belonged to my beloved grandpa who just passed away and I wanted his eye on my wall. The ear was a present for my boyfriend who loves to listen to music. And about the yellow part in the robe I told the art studio I wanted a painting of a mango."

To minimize the chance of recognition, the artist rotated some of the fragments 90 degrees, so parts of the robe became 'hills or curtains'. One of the studios dispatched a larger painting than 30 x 40 cm. "They thought it had to be inches, and they were disappointed I didn't want a much larger painting for the same price. I told them I had just a small spot on my wall to hang it".
Today the artist will visit the Chinese embassy to present a birthday cake with the assembled portrait of the Dalai Lama. She thinks she will not be welcome, despite reports that Chinese authorities allow Tibetans to openly venerate the Dalai Lama in two provinces. Tomorrow, on the Dalai Lama's birthday, she will cycle through Amsterdam with a large poster of the portrait on a bike.

'Dalai Lama, Made in China' is on display until July 21, at CNCPT13 Gallery, Prinsengracht 266, Amsterdam.


Article on arts page in leading Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant, June 22 2013:

Made in China - 16x Dalai Lama

It is not allowed calling his name. His picture has been banned. And to congratulate him with his 78th birthday is forbidden. Dutch artist Airco Caravan was moved by the harsh Chinese oppression when visiting Tibet. Caravan decided to create a birthday present for the Tibetan leader. In a surprising way. The artist used 16 Dutch companies who offer paintings from photos - family snap shots, pets - painted in China. The portrait of the Dalai Lama was cut into 16 pieces, and sent separately to the Chinese painters as an 'abstract impressionistic' image. Some images were rotated and got strange names. The first image on the third row for example was rotated and titled 'Hills'.The picture on the bottom left was called 'Mango'. The eye was called 'Grandpa'. 'One of the companies called me because it was a strange, incomplete picture' the artist says 'but I told them my grandpa had just passed away and I loved his eyes'. They accepted that. After half a year the Dalai Lama was completed. The project is on display at CNCPT13 Gallery in Amsterdam until July 21.


Tibet Oppression in 2009:
> Watch our eyewitness account (4:53) in 2009. This is the reason why Airco Caravan created the art project 'Made in China'