Un­der her um­brella: artist keeps protest alive

The Myanmar Times - - The Pulse -

THE sprawl­ing protest camps at the heart of Hong Kong’s 2014 prodemoc­racy “Um­brella Move­ment” have long gone – but artist Alexan­dra Wong is de­ter­mined to keep the mem­ory alive.

Ev­ery week the 60-year-old re­turns to a spot on the drive­way out­side the city’s gov­ern­ment head­quar­ters, cre­at­ing po­lit­i­cal mu­rals from brightly coloured tape laid on the tar­mac.

She was there again yes­ter­day, the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the start of the pro-democ­racy ral­lies, which called on Bei­jing to al­low fully free lead­er­ship elec­tions in the semi-au­tonomous city.

The an­niver­sary comes as some for­mer pro­test­ers back­ing in­de­pen­dence from China pre­pare to take of­fice af­ter win­ning re­cent elec­tions as fears grow of Bei­jing clos­ing its grip on the city.

Wong’s cre­ations echo the spon­ta­neous art­works that sprung up through­out the protests. They mainly de­pict flow­ers and um­brel­las in the bright yel­low that came to sym­bol­ise the move­ment.

Car­i­ca­tures, car­toons, sculp­tures and origami dec­o­rated the rally camps, which took over high­ways and com­mer­cial ar­eas in the for­mer Bri­tish colony.

Wong was a main­stay of the huge camp in Ad­mi­ralty next to the gov­ern­ment of­fices.

She says go­ing back there is her way of keep­ing up pres­sure on the au­thor­i­ties.

“I want to use art to ex­press my de­sire for Hong Kong to have true uni­ver­sal suf­frage and to show that the fight is not over,” Wong told AFP, while cre­at­ing the words “Safe­guard our HK” with yel­low duct tape.

“There are a lot of high of­fi­cials get­ting out of their cars here, so this place is very im­por­tant. Some­times I think the chief ex­ec­u­tive [Hong Kong’s leader] passes by as well, so I must per­sist,” she said.

The ral­lies failed to win con­ces­sions from Bei­jing and spawned a new move­ment push­ing for self­de­ter­mi­na­tion and in­de­pen­dence as an op­tion for Hong Kong.

Wong says she sup­ports that mes­sage and while her onewoman mis­sion may seem more straight­for­ward than win­ning elec­tions, it has taken its toll.

Hong Kong-born, she crosses the bor­der from her home in the south­ern main­land Chi­nese city of Shen­zhen ev­ery week.

She spends two or three days work­ing on each art piece, with five hours’ travel time added in.

Wong, who lives alone, says she has lost 10 pounds in the past two years main­tain­ing her art.

Oc­ca­sion­ally, she says, main­land bor­der of­fi­cials stop her and look through her bag of art tools, but ul­ti­mately let her through. She says she does not use a phone for fear of hack­ing.

Hong Kong au­thor­i­ties seem to tol­er­ate the artist – al­though she says one woman once came out of the gov­ern­ment build­ing and of­fered her money to stop. She con­tin­ues un­fazed. “I will per­sist un­til I truly see hope,” she says.

Other for­mer pro­test­ers and protest lead­ers were also due to gather near the gov­ern­ment of­fices yes­ter­day evening to mark the an­niver­sary.

Art­work of a yel­low um­brella that reads -“Civil Dis­obe­di­ence, Um­brella Rev­o­lu­tion, Civil Dis­obe­di­ence” cov­ers the gov­ern­ment head­quar­ter’s drive­ways in Hong Kong on the eve of the sec­ond an­niver­sary of the Um­brella Move­ment.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.