Umbrella Movement lives on in galleries, online

Umbrella Movement lives on in galleries, online

HONG KONG - A common misconception about last year's Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong is that it ended when the police cleared the last protest site on Dec. 11. In reality, the most radical anti-government campaign since the 1967 leftist riots continues -- even though the seas of tents that occupied Admiralty, Mongkok and Causeway Bay for two-and-a-half months are long gone.

Artists -- both professionals and amateurs -- are among those who have resolutely refused to abide by the government's call for people to accept the electoral reform package that is on the table. The proposal gives eligible citizens a vote in the next chief executive election but not a direct say in the nomination process as demanded by the protesters.

The past month has seen exhibitions and film showings of works made during the mass sit-in -- long days and nights on the streets that gave rise to an outpouring of creativity, usually featuring yellow umbrellas. Umbrellas were first used as protection against police pepper spray but soon turned into the movement's icon, alongside yellow ribbons.

Visual art, cartoons and videos lampooning the authorities are being presented in galleries and online.

Scraping away the surface

Ivy Ma is a Hong Kong artist who has a solo exhibition of new pieces inspired by the protests. Local politics were never part of her artistic vocabulary. She spent the last few years working on the themes of history and memory, usually by turning her gaze to past, international tragedies such as the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and the "Killing Fields" in Cambodia.

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