Did you follow the Umbrella Revolution?

Are you interested in street art and pop up installations?

You want to know more about the works created during  Occupy Central?


Last Sunday, from 12.30 to 1.30 pm,  I attended a lecture organised by Art Central : From under the umbrella, art, creativity and HK’s evolving identity. The talk was on the inheritance of occupy central on Hong Kong’ art world. It was including 3 artistic figures of Hong Kong contemporary art scene:  Douglas Young (Co-founder & Creative Director, GOD), Jenny Suen (Filmmaker, “Hong Kong Trilogy”) and Patricia Choi (Design Educator). The Moderator was Louise Wong (Editor and Co-founder of Creative City).

Those Hong Kong creatives discuss the city’s changing sense of identity through artistic experiences.

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Creative city is an organisation created after Occupy Central. It is actually a map that is devoted to celebrating Hong Kong’s creativity. The map is the baby of Whitespace founder Danielle Huthart and journalist Louise Wong and their intent is to shift the perception that Hong Kong lacks in cultural and creative appeal.

During 80 days, the areas of  central and admiralty were occupy by Hong Kong citizen showing strong civil disobedience. Over that period of time, new creative expressions emerged such as: logos, slogan, tags, sculptures etc…. The Umbrella man was built over night by a musician, and became the symbol of the revolution. The main slogan was, in Chinese: Just because we are disappointed does not mean we don t have hope.

One artist created a mobile farm, to preserve his plantation from destruction, while design students built Bamboo desks on the railway: that installation was named the study room and presented a strong influence from high schools study rooms.


The speakers presenting the Bamboo desks, art central, picture@Allen Jim

What happened to the art after the Umbrella revolution?

After it ended, the government took all the art installations away. Even the wall made up with posts it, quite similar to the Pont des Arts in Paris, with its hundreds of  lockers. The speakers were talking about the future of such movement. Shall they keep it as a temporary moment or shall they try to save the pieces?


The question the 3 artists were asked was to what extend does the umbrella revolution and its creativity  express HK’s identity?
According to them, the artists and people wanted to contribute and express their opinion. However, the movement has met firm resistance  and they were limits to such experimentation.

What is the legacy of umbrella revolution?

– For Jenny, the movement was a way to feel part of a community
– For Douglas it was a trend which might face a down side
– For Patricia, it has raised the identity: people feel they are from HK  They all expressed the need to create  an artistic school of HK in the future, or a collective in HK.


The main question remained : What is HK identity?
A Struggle for freedom? a group of people from all over the world?
It is definitely a mix between Chinese legacy and western traditions. For Douglas and Patricia, the Chinese side should not be left aside. Their goal is to convince people of the value of what Hong Kong has.
There is a Hong Kong style they want to preserve. In a sense, the nostalgia of a traditional Hong Kong is existing but they all 3 praised a will to create an alternative HK people control.

The government at stake. According to the 3 speakers, Hong Kong government isn’t showing enough efforts to promote  the city as the Asian cultural Hub.





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