Art has played a role in the Umbrella Movement since day one, from public art installations like Stand By You: ‘Add Oil’ Machine to a Facebook competition to design the movement’s logo. Less well-known are two urban sketching groups which, armed with pen and paper, have been doing their best to document the protests.
Both Urban Sketchers Hong Kong (USHK) and Sketcher-Kee were formed in 2013 with the goal of preserving in ink the city’s ever-evolving urban environment. Today its members are camped out in the Causeway Bay, Admiralty, and Mong Kok areas of Hong Kong, posting expressive drawings of that same landscape over-run by umbrellas, yellow ribbons, and students demanding political freedom. Their work is risky; a recent post by USHK co-founder Alvin Wong on the group’s Facebook page advised members to “get a sketch buddy” and to sit near a wall so “no one can surprise you from behind.”
For Wong, the risk is well worth it if it means witnessing what he described in an email to Hyperallergic as “the biggest pro-democracy protest in Hong Kong history.” He said the reason he sketches is because taking a snapshot simply doesn’t allow for the same understanding of his subject. “To me, [sketching] is a form of meditation, and [it] also allows me to observe carefully in details what the people are trying achieve in this movement.”
While photographs of the demonstrations are extremely valuable, there’s something indispensable about these drawings. The sheer dedication involved in sketching a scene in lieu of taking a picture suggests the artists themselves have a stake in what they’re depicting. Their images are rich with human warmth, offering not just a close-up of history-in-the-making, but also an invitation to understand the hopes and fears that first drove the demonstrators to central Hong Kong.
“We want to use our ability to make awareness for the public, to share our observations, experiences, and thoughts via the Internet to the world,” explained Wong Suede of Sketcher-Kee. “We hope we can support and encourage the protesters who are fighting for Hong Kong … since we are also protestors, we hope it may [achieve something] for the whole movement.
Here’s a selection of their sketches.
Ceramic fried eggs, critiques of real estate, and a whole booth dedicated to female-identifying saints caught my eye at Untitled, NADA, and Art Miami.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s office recovered 23 looted objects from Shelby White’s home over the last year and a half.
The award-winning Canadian artist explores notions of power through the imagery of science fiction in portraits, sculpture, and objects.
An egregious “anti-woke” billboard erected in Los Angeles attempts to sow division among Latino/a/x communities.
This week, missed signs of previous life on Mars, the appeal of forged art, and why are blue whales singing in lower octaves?
This affordable, interdisciplinary program with excellent facilities and private studios offers in-person instruction for 2023.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed forcefully posits multiple parallels between the world Nan Goldin grew up in and the one she fights in today.
Your list of must-see, fun, insightful, and very Los Angeles art events this month, including Bob Thompson, Aimee Goguen, Uta Barth, the Transcendental Painting Group, and more.
The latest episode of this documentary series on PBS explores the meaning of home through handmade objects, hand built homes, and the artists who create them.
There is the singular artist and then there is the more exclusive club that has only one member. Harvey belongs to the latter.
The artists say the Museum of Contemporary Art Kiasma must sever ties with Poju Zabludowicz, whose wealth comes in part from Israeli defense contracting.
Rhode Island School of Design opens registration for its residential summer Pre-College program and year-round online intensive Advanced Program Online.
Vanessa Albury, whose eco-friendly ceramic sculptures help revive filter-feeder populations, is raising funds to complete her first film about the project.
An archeological exploration of the amphitheater’s sewers and water systems uncovered remnants of meat, vegetables, olives, nuts, and yes, pizza.