The old cannot kill the young forever
Freedom of Expression in Hong Kong
severely tried by Pillar of Shame
On 4th June an eight-metre high original sculpture titled the Pillar of Shame will be set up in Hong Kong. The sculpture has been created by the Danish Sculptor Jens Galschiot and is composed of more than 50 painfully twisted human bodies. It will be set up in cooperation with the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic and Democratic Movements in China.
A Gift to the Chines People
The Scuipture is a gift to the Chinese people in support of the human rights issue in China. Some day, when the circumstances make it possible, the sculpture might be moved to Beijing.
The Pillar of Shame is the core of a world wide art happening that Jens Galsehiot will be carrying out over the next ten years. Once or twice a year, a Pillar of Shame will be mounted around the world as a memorial of severe infringements against humanity. The mounting in Hong Kong is marking the international debut of the happening.
50,000 Lights for Tiananmen
The Pillar of Shame will be displayed 4th June in Victoria Park where more than 50,000 people will be gathered for a solemn Candlelight Vigil in commemoration of the Tiananmen massacre in '89. The sculpture will be set up in the very midst of the ceremony. Throughout the day thousands of people will come to the park laying flowers. One can hardly imagine a more impressive inauguration of an art happening.
Set up a few weeks before the handover to China the Pillar of Shame will be a test of the validity of the new authorities' guarantees for human rights and freedom of expression in Hong Kong. In this regard many feel rather uneasy. Maybe this year's Candlelight Vigil will be the last one in foreseeable future. Also the fate of the Pillar of Shame, as a symbol of the event, is uncertain. Perhaps the new authorities will brush it away or even destroy it.
However, Jens Galschiot does not lose any sleep over these prospects. The assault on the sculpture would just display the contempt of the authorities for the human rights and the freedom of expression in Hong Kong. Even the destruction of the sculpture cannot rub out the symbolic value of the Pillar of Shame, no more than the ruthless oppression has been capable of choking the spirit of Tiananmen. Inevitably, the site where the first Pillar of Shame was set up will be saturated with a symbolic value that will be reinforced by the following sculptures placed around the world.
The Chinese Pillar of Shame
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|1997: The Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong|