- A happening of remembrance

Link to the Danish versionLink to the Spanish versionLink to the spanish versionLink to the Portugese versionNA01143A.gif (987 bytes)Pictures of the Pillar of Shame

A Sculptural Outcry

A Pillar of Shame was set up in Hong Kong on 4th June 1997. This event marked the initiation of an art happening that will spread over the Planet over the next ten years. Once a year, a Pillar of Shame will be mounted as a memorial of a severe infringement against humanity. The Pillar which is an original dark sculpture eight metres in height depicting more than 50 painfully twisted human bodies.

    The Pillar of Shame represents a good deal of money: the only symbol which really commands global respect. Monuments of this calibre are normally set up in memory of 'heroic' deeds.
    However, here the sculpture will be mounted to serve as a continual reminder of a shameful act which must never reoccur. The Pillar of Shame is a kind of Nobel Prize of Injustice.

A Reminder in History

Our memories become ever shorter because our consciousness is overburdened by the media's continuous stream of information. The smell of decomposing corpses and death vanishes as soon as the pictures fade from the screen. It is the aim of the Pillar of Shame to perpetuate the memory of the atrocity and its victims - to serve as a reminder in history.

The symbolic value of the sculpture is enforced by the reactions of the authorities, whether they destroy it, brush it aside or allow it to stand. In all circumstances it will have a symbolic value enforced by the fact of being a part of a global network of similar sculptures.

Debut in Hong Kong

The first Pillar of Shame was presented to the world public in November '96. Exhibited on the NGO Forum of the FAO summit in Rome, Italy, the sculpture became a sort of symbol of the conference.  Pictures of the pillar of shame in rome
On 4th June '97 the happening was started when 55,000 people gathered in Victoria Park in Hong Kong for a solemn candlelight vigil to commemorate the bloodshed 1989 in Beijing. The Pillar of Shame was displayed as the focal point of the ceremony. Hereafter it is displayed in turn on all the seven universities in Hong Kong until 4th June '98 when the Pillar once again took centre stage at the ceremony in Victoria Park.Pictures of the pillar of shame in rome

The sculpture is now stored in a container until a permanent site can be found.

Setting up the Pillar ahead of the hand-over on 1st July, is a way of placing the sculpture on Chinese territory. Expressing an overt accusation of the old men's regime in Beijing, it functions as a litmus test of the authorities' vow to respect human rights and free speech in Hong Kong.

The Next Site

for mounting a Pillar will probably be Mexico that got a macabre actuality on 22nd December '97, when 45 indigenous people were slaughtered in the village of Acteal.

We're also considering to set up a Pillar in Northern Brazil in commemoration of a massacre on landless peasants. link to a press release.

The Initiator

The Initiator of the happening is Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, born 1954. He is married with three children. He has exhibited in Denmark, Greenland, Germany, England, France, Italy and Spain. In recent years, he has had an increasing interest for happenings as an art form.

The Theatre of Reality

His happenings function as gigantic theatrical events. His sculptures set the scene. Suddenly they turn up in the street and the play starts. Politicians, the media and the public are brought in as actors. They adopt their role with ease as the symbolism of the happenings is open for interpretation. But no matter what they do, they contribute to the dynamics of the happening by constantly creating new symbols.
The artist's message is aiming at the defence of the ethical foundations of our civilization, independently of political, religious and economical interests.

Network of Volunteers

The happening is carried out by innumerable unsalaried helpers. Their commitment symbolizes of our common responsibility, both socially and ecologically, for the development of the Earth. This responsibility should not just be left to politicians, experts, artists etc.

We'll be pleased receiving financial support, as we are constantly in lack of money. We have made some small original models of The Pillar fore sale in support of the happening.If you could possibly could help in any other way, send us an e-mail: aidoh@aidoh.dk

Biggest Art Happening in Europe

So the press titled My Inner Beast, carried out by Galschiot in '93. In twenty big cities a sculpture of a pig in human clothes was set up without the knowledge of the authorities as a symbol of the increasing racism.

Focus on Double Standards

Galschiot has often been accredited as an NGO on international conferences, e.g. on UN's social summit in Copenhagen. On this occasion he carried out the happening The Silent Death with the aim of highlighting the double standards of the rich world.  We're solemnly proclaiming the inviolability of the right to life, but at the same time we accept a global imbalance with thousands of children as victims each year.

750 figures of children (a total of 15 tons) were fettered to benches, lamp posts etc. all over the City. In addition 13,000,000 certificates, one for each child doomed to die of hunger and lack of medicine in 1995, were distributed.


More information and a lot of photos are available at our homepage http://www.aidoh.dk or by
Jens Galschiot
Banevaenget 22 - DK-5270 Odense N - Denmark
Tel. (+45) 6618 4058 - Fax (+45) 6618 4158
E-mail: aidoh@aidoh.dk

A more Detailed Description  |  Photos of the Pillar af shame  | To the Pillar Of Shame Index

Level Up

1996-?: The Pillar of Shame
Additional Information:
Categories: 1996-?: The Pillar of Shame | Happenings and Art Installations
Themes: Human rights
Sculptures: Civilization, OMEP | Masks of the Pillar of Shame | Pillar of Shame | Pillar of Shame, Top, No. 1
Type: Concepts
Dates: 1996 | 1997 | 1999 | 2000
Locations: Praça da Leitura, Belém, Brazil | Town Hall, Belém, Brazil | Parliament, Brasilia, Brazil | Eldorado de Carajàs, Brazil | Harbour, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | Tiananmen Square, Beijing, China | Baptist University, Hong Kong, China | Chinese University, Hong Kong, China | Haking Wong podium at the Hong Kong University, Hong Kong, China | Kai Tak Airport, Hong Kong, China | Lingnan College, Hong Kong, China | Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China | University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong, China | Victoria Park, Hong Kong, China | Aalborg, Denmark | Bella Center, Copenhagen, Denmark | Town hall square, Copenhagen, Denmark | Haderslev, Denmark | Middelfart, Denmark | Flakhaven (Town Hall sq.), Odense, Denmark | Munke Mose, Odense, Denmark | Roskilde Festival, Roskilde, Denmark | Gimsing hoved, Struer, Denmark | Ostiense Air Terminal, Rome, Italy | Villagio Globale, Rome, Italy | Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico | La Realidad, Lacandona jungle, Mexico | Chapultepec park, Mexico city, Mexico | Zócalo, Mexico city, Mexico | San Cristóbal, Chiapas, Mexico
Co-operators and Helpers: Amado Avendaño, governor in rebellion | Anders Sergent | Anne Lund | Antonio Carlos Magalhães, President of the National Congress, 2000 | Art critics association, Mr Lau Kin Wai | Bishop Samuel Ruiz | Blue Water, forwarding agent | Brazilian Bishops | Brian Hansen | Brian Madsen | Caio Riela, MP for PTB, 2000 | Carlos Rodrigo F. Sáenz | Catherine Meinertz-Nielsen | Cheung Man-kwong, a core member of the Hong Kong Democracy Movement | Chui Way-hang, student leader | CIEPAC | Claudio Cifuentes | Colette Markus | Daniel Markus | Dorthe Gregersen | Edilson A. Assunção | Edvard (Moscow, Russia) | Emely Lau, Urban Council | Erling Hoh | Fernanda Giannasi | Fernando Marroni, MP for PT, 2000 | Finn Damgård Andersen | Fray Ba - Centro de Derechos Humanos Fray Bartolomé de las Casas | FZLN - Frente Zapatista de Liberación Nacional | Gómez Hernández Eliseo | Georg Zoega | Gloria Rico | Gry Bagøien | Guy Markus | Hans Krull | Hariet Jensen | Helene Gjerding | Henrik Rasmussen | Hong Kong Christian Institute | Hunger Gathering 1996, Villagio Globale, Rome, Italy | Internationalt Forum (Mayo) | Ip Kwok-chung, councillor | Jan Christiansen | Jane Banke | Jens Frederiksen | Jens Petersen | Jim Walsh | John Bonnesen Wolff | Julie Greve Nielsen | Jun Feng | Kasper Markus | Katia Schaetzle | Krakagården | Lars Dahl | Lasse Markus | Lene Jelling | Liliane Boukris | Linda Christensen | Linda Westfalen | Linda Wong Shui Hung, Students’ union, HK University | Lotte Olsen | Luca Martinelli | Luis M. Luis | Maj Frost | Marcos Rolim, Senator for PT, 2000 | Maria Iners Tipsmark | Marina Jakobsen | Mark Laplume (USA) | Martin Liljendal | Mette Lindgren Christophersen | Mette Pedersen | Mogens Hvam Andersen | Movimento Tortura Nunca Mais de Pernambuco | Nicki Concaas | Niller Madsen | Oleg (Russia) | Omar Dhahir | Patrick Wong Chun Sing, Students’ union, HK University | Paulina Kjeldsen | Per Østerby | Police of Rome | Preben Christensen | Rebekka Andreasen, Fyens Stiftstidende | Robert Etches | Rosalina Gauffin | Sharon Millar | Silvie Cifuentes | Sofus Markus | Stanley Wing-Fai Ng | Students’ union, Hong Kong University | Sumuni Laanyuni | Søren Thornye | Theodor Lyngby | Thomas Frost | Tinku (Mikkel og Doris) | Town Hall of México DF | Trine Ebbesen | Trine Sandager | Troels Gelting | Vika (Russia) | Vivi Smith
Partners: Albert Ho | CLETA (Centro Libre de Experimentación Teatral y Artística) | CNI (Consejo Nacional Indígena) | Edmilson Brito Rodrigues, Mayor of Belém, 2000 | Enrique Cisneros, CLETA | Eunice Pinheiro Alves | FAO NGO Forum, Rome, 1996 | Heloísa Helena, Leader of opposition, Senator for PT, 2000 | Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Democracy in China | Las Abejas en Acteal | MST - Movimento Sem Terra | Ocean Fung | PT - Partido dos Trabalhadores | Senate of Brazil | Szeto Wah | Town Hall of Belém
Related Persons and Entities: Brazilian Minister of Justice, 2000 | Chinese Government | Chris Patten, last British governor of Hong Kong | Customs officials in Rio | FAO | Government of Mexico, 1999 | HK police | Hong Kong Arts Centre, Oscar Ho | Hong Kong University Social Science Institute | Immigration Office in San Cristóbal | M+R (Metzger + Richner), forwarding agent | Mayor of Rome, 1996 | Odense Skattevæsen | Recreation Committee in Hong Kong | Regional Council (in the New Territories) | SAR government | Tung Chee-hwa, HK head of government after 1st July 1997 | Urban Council Hong Kong | Urban Council, Select Committee | Xinhua (New China News Agency)
Sponsors: BUPL | DeTrey Dentsply AG, Schweiz | Fredsfonden | Funch Fonden | Gelsted/Kirk/Scherfig fonden | Kultursekretariatet i Odense Kommune | Lysgaard Fonden | Socialpædagogernes Landsforbund / National Federation of Social Educators | Socialpædagogernes Landsforbund i Vejle | Vedstaarup Lerfabrik A/S