To The Hong Kong Infolist
News about The Pillar of Shame - Statement from artist Jens Galschiøt about the exhibition and painting of the Pillar of Shame in Berlin, and the widespread banner manifestations.
Berlin exhibition: Pillar of Shame is now erected at Axel Springer Square in the heart of Berlin, right on the spot where the Berlin Wall once stood. The 8-meter-tall and ton-heavy sculpture has been invited to Berlin by the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation.
Statement by Jens Galschiøt:
"It is a highly symbolic event to install the sculpture here in Berlin. The sculpture is a memorial to the massacre of China's democracy movement on June 4, 1989, where the Chinese students lost the battle against the Chinese military. But at the same time, on t other side of the globe in Berlin, a democracy movement grew so strong that on November 11, 1989, only 5 months after the massacre in China, they liberated the entire Eastern Block and tore down the Berlin Wall with their bare hands. So for me, it is an honor to exhibit it here.
It also gives hope for change in China. An authoritarian regime like China's is a colossus on clay feet that can collapse in a short time. There are many examples of this in the history of mankind, and China knows it. This is why they keep their population on a short leash - they are simply afraid of the people and afraid that the people remember their own history. Perhaps that is why they are so afraid of art, which is precisely a symbolic and visual way of remembering and interpreting history.
In connection with the installation in Berlin, the legendary photographer Jeff Widener came to Berlin to photograph the event with the "Pillar of Shame" installation. Widener was the photographer who captured the iconic "Tank Man" during the 1989 massacre, who tried to stop the tanks with his body. It is not known what happened to the "Tank Man," but his photograph has immortalized his actions and courage.
The photographs have become some of the world's most iconic images, and "Tank Man" along with "Pillar of Shame" contribute to preserving the history of China's oppression of its own people. I am pleased and proud that Jeff Widener can now add photos of the "Pillar of Shame" sculpture to his collection.
On Monday, the 22nd, at 3:30 p.m., the large sculpture in Berlin will be painted orange to symbolically link it to the replica of the Pillar of Shame that Hong Kong authorities have imprisoned and confiscated. The sculpture in Hong Kong was painted orange back in 2008 by the democracy movement, and every year since, during an annual ceremony, they have refreshed the orange color. Everyone is invited to participate in painting. In this way, the Chinese "Pillar of Shame" emerges in the heart of Berlin. It is a very beautiful symbol.
In connection with the painting, representatives from various sides of the movement will speak, including representatives from Hong Kong, Taiwan, Uyghurs, Tibetans, and Chinese students. Afterwards a small conference will be held at the Springer Group's building.
Opening of Pillar of Shame exhibition in Berlin - and Painting of the sculpture:
Opening Ceremony
3:30-4:30 p.m., Axel Springer forecourt (Axel-Springer-Str. 65, 10969 Berlin)
5:00-6:00 p.m. Panel discussion with Jens Galschiøt, Samuel Chu, Antje Schippmann, Adib Sisani (speaker/head of communications for Axel Springer)
Banner actions are spreading surprisingly quickly across the globe.
Statement by Jens Galschiøt:
A campaign involving up to 9-meter tall banners of "The Pillar of Shame" has spread to 18 countries and more than 50 locations as a global banner campaign to commemorate the Tiananmen massacre on July 4th, 1989. The support for the campaign has been overwhelmingly positive, and my colleagues at Gallery Galschiøt have been working around the clock to distribute the numerous banners worldwide.
It is looking to become an extraordinary and incredibly powerful manifestation. Thousands of artists and activists will participate in marches, meetings, candlelight vigil, and similar events over the next few weeks to highlight China's suppression of its own citizens. This suppression has resulted in the imprisonment of many individuals, and hundreds of thousands of people have fled to the West, seeking political asylum. These individuals are among those participating in the banner manifestations.
The manifestations have already begun, with marches and banner displays taking place in Times Square, Hollywood, Taiwan, and many other locations. It is one of the first times that the Chinese democracy movement has been successfully united in such a large-scale global action. Perhaps the fact that the banner campaign symbolizes the victims of the June 4th, 1989 massacre is significant, as it is a cause that everyone can rally behind.
Jens Galschiøt, artist and creator of the Pillar of Shame.
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