Source: SCMP (9/10/19)
Hong Kong protest art headed for the streets of London and Amsterdam
Work by Hong Kong street artist Boms can be seen all across the city, but his protest posters are now headed for Europe. The Young Blood Initiative will be handing out copies of his work to the public in London and Amsterdam
By Snow Xia
Boms has been run off his feet lately.
The Hong Kong street artist and dancer – who doesn’t want to be identified – has been plastering walls across the city with his protest posters, voicing his support for the large-scale anti-government movement over the past three months.
Unlike most of the protest art produced locally during this period, his drawings will also be headed for London and Amsterdam, where copies will be distributed to the public and be posted around the streets, over the next two months.
The Young Blood Initiative, which was founded by Hongkonger Candy Choi in 2014 to bring together artists from around the world to experiment beyond their usual practice, will be bringing Boms’ works to the European cities.
Boms says he wants his posters to bring positive energy to people, encouraging them to “stay and go through anything together”. He adds: “I think a poster doesn’t mean a lot, but at least this is the [message] that I can help communicate to everyone.”
Hong Kong’s summer of protests was sparked by a much-despised extradition bill that would have allowed for the extradition of criminals to jurisdictions with which the city lacked a treaty, including China.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said she would formally withdraw the controversial bill, meeting one of the “five key demands” by protesters.
Boms shows his solidarity with the protests through his art.
In his poster, more than a dozen open umbrellas are piled on top of each other, a formation that’s often seen on the front lines of the protests. While background Chinese calligraphy reads: “Hongkongers never give up”, “The world changes, our original intention never changes,” “Good and evil will be decided in the end”.
The umbrella has been a symbol of Hong Kong’s democratic and civil disobedience movement since the city’s 2014 democracy demonstrations. “The umbrella is definitely the most iconic [object] that everyone will wear to protect themselves … from [tear gas],” he says.
Under the umbrellas is a tiny seedling. Boms says it’s the Hong Kong orchid tree and it represents that “we’re actually protecting our future”. At the bottom of the poster, it says, “Stand with Hong Kong!”
“People [in Hong Kong] are fighting for justice … and there have been complaints about the cops,” says Boms, referring to accusations that authorities have used excessive force during confrontations with protesters. One of their five demands is calling on the government to set up an independent inquiry into alleged police brutality – something the police force opposes and the government has dismissed.
The artist says there’s something wrong with the system, but confesses he doesn’t have the solution to fix it. “The only thing we can do is stay together and have our voices [heard],” Boms says.