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A Hong Kong Protest Camp Spawns Its Own Art

Oct 21, 2014
Originally published on October 21, 2014 12:56 pm

Now in its improbable fourth week, the main pro-democracy protest camp in Hong Kong's Admiralty district is a sort of Woodstock on the South China Sea.

A sea of tents, the camp teems with street art and propaganda posters. They range from sculptures and cartoons to protest banners and the "Lennon Wall" — a reference to John Lennon and a similar wall in Prague — where people have written thousands of messages on colored Post-it notes.

Unpopular Hong Kong Chief Executive C.Y. Leung is portrayed variously as a zombie and a wolf in this makeshift open-air museum.

In the past week, thousands have come to snap photos of the camp, which sprawls across a major highway, and the homemade artwork to document a remarkable moment in the city's political history. Most believe the police will eventually sweep it all off to a landfill. I've been covering the protest for the past two weeks, and joined the photographers down in Admiralty. Here are a few of my shots.


A pedestrian bridge over the main protest camp in Hong Kong's Admiralty district. The orange banner at the far left says "Do You Hear The People Sing?" — the title of a song from Les Miserables, the musical set in 19th-century, revolution-era France.

A scrap-wood sculpture of a man holding an umbrella is the contemporary equivalent of the "Goddess of Democracy," the statue created by the Tiananmen Square protesters in 1989. Umbrellas became symbols of the democracy demonstrations after protesters used them to block police pepper spray and tear gas attacks late last month.

A twist on the Hong Kong flag in which petals of the city's emblem, the bauhinia flower, have been replaced by yellow umbrellas. The five petals on the Hong Kong flag echo the five yellow stars on the Chinese national flag.

A yellow umbrella made of tiny yellow umbrellas with messages of hope written in Chinese.

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