The 2019 Hong Kong protests, also known as Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement or Anti-ELAB Movement, are an ongoing series of demonstrations in Hong Kong, which began with the aim to oppose the introduction of the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill proposed by the Hong Kong government.
If enacted, the bill would allow local authorities to detain and extradite criminal fugitives who are wanted in territories with which Hong Kong does not have extradition agreements, including Taiwan and mainland China. People were concerned that the bill would subject Hong Kong citizens and visitors to the mainland Chinese jurisdiction, undermining the autonomy of the regionand its civil liberties. As the protests progressed, the protesters laid out five key demands, including over the alleged police misconduct and democratic reform which has stagnated since the 2014 Umbrella Revolution. The Chinese central government has stated it is “the worst crisis in Hong Kong” since the handover in 1997.
The following body of work is made of 3 photo series, the first is focused on frontlines fighters, the second have a glance on the political posters tradition renewal by HK protestors, while the third explores HK’s streets at night.
FRONTLINE FIGHTERS OF 2019 HK DEMONSTRATIONS
Insurrections often have many objective reasons for their onset, but they thrive on collective affects (social or political injustice, anger, anomie or the feeling of not having one’s life in hand). These popular uprisings are the answer to these collective affects, but they also generate new value systems, a new symbolism, new solidarity and a new common ground among those who participate in them.
This work leaves the immediate factual in the background to put these affects in the center of the frame. It portraits protesters, policemen, firemen, simple citizens of Hong Kong who, nearly every day, every night, take part to intenses fights and clashes in frontlines all over the city.
Hong Kong’s NIGHT WORKERS
Sometimes, Hong Kong is just seen as a financial hub, a big duty free commercial center for rich tourists, or now, a war zone. But wandering in its streets at night shows a city who never sleeps with its people who still live, work and love.
This is an ongoing work, first series published below is mainly focused on hongkongers working in the city’s streets at night. It’s shot in Kowloon side of Hong Kong, around Mong Kok, Yau Ma Tei and Sham Shui Po neighborhoods where demonstrations usually ends.
Posters & Lennon walls
Dazibao, literally “large print newspaper” in China is a poster written by a private citizen, dealing with a political or moral subject, and posted for public reading.
By extension, and in the figurative sense, the word is used to refer to unofficial publications.
The expression of public opinion through posters is a tradition in imperial China. Citizens wrote or printed posters criticizing the imperial magistrate’s administration, which were placed in the city and even in the street in front of the court, the magistrate’s seat. The people gathered around the posters to comment on them.
It was in 1966, with the Cultural Revolution launched by Mao Zedong, that the Dazibao reappeared in China, and became an instrument of very official propaganda.
Hong Kong pro-democracy demonstrators and artists completely renew this tradition of political posters in so called “Lennon Walls” all around the city. The government decided to clean these in september, everyday protestor came with new posters. This was even called “The battle of Lennongrad”. This series shows what reveals the aftermath: collages of paper, glue and brillant political artworks.