Banners in different sizes commemorate Tiananmen and support Hong Kong's fight for freedom! The banner manifestations show China, that despite the kidnapping of the sculpture, it cannot hide the sculptures message.
China is doing what it can to forget the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing on June 4th, 1989. But at Gallery Galschiot we have started a range of initiatives to mark the day and support the Hong Kong diaspora in their struggle for freedom. Amongst other things, we print up to 9 meters tall banners with the Pillar of Shame. They are sent to NGOs and Hong Kong supporters around the world. The artist behind the world-known sculpture explains:
"The banners will be used on June 4th for commemorations of the massacre in Beijing in 1989. They show China that the country cannot erase its own history. At the same time, the banners mark that China's kidnapping of one of Hong Kong's symbols of freedom (the Pillar of Shame) only leads to more resistance".
All banners are printed in limited numbers and signed by the artist, thus becoming huge lithographs.
You can take part in the commemoration of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre and call out against China's takeover of Hong Kong! Here are a few suggestions on how:
- Get a Pillar of Shame banner for a manifestation. The banners are available in sizes of 9m, 4.5m, 180cm and 90cm high. Send us a description of your project e.g. hang the banner in front of the Chinese embassy, in Times Square in NY or use it for a memorial ceremony. If your idea is good, we will send a banner - Read more.
- Print your own Pillar of Shame banner. The print file can be downloaded here for free use. Determine the text and size of the banner yourself.
- 3D print your own Pillar of Shame – Download print files.
- Augmented Reality: Place a virtual Pillar of Shame with our AR files and cheat the world #PillarofShame.
- Break the Censorship – Many Chinese do not know about the Tiananmen Square massacre in Beijing in 1989. Share documentation and press coverage of the massacre. Either digitally or by printing the material and, for example, putting it at universities with Chinese students. You can find the documentation here.
If you choose to take action, remember to spread the word by informing the media, post it on social media - and please let me know about your manifestation as well.
What about The Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong? The sculpture is still locked in a container at the University of Hong Kong, off limits to the public. The university has in fact agreed to return the sculpture, but a year of letters, calls and several visits has been to no avail. The lack of (and amount of nonsense-) answers is starting to seem absurd and our Chinese curator was denied physical access to the container last month. See correspondence with links.
Denmark's Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also done a great deal of work to get The Pillar of Shame released; but without much success. Karsten Hønge (MP for the Socialist Party) has been meeting with the Chinese ambassador about the matter to no avail.
We know, from reliable sources, that China is pulling the strings. The word is that China fears The Pillar of Shame as a symbol that can unite Hongkongers and its diaspora. With the above manifestations, we will show that we do not need the physical Pillar of Shame to do this.
Artist Jens Galschiøt and his crew.
Read more below
A 4-meter-tall model of The Pillar of Shame is exhibited at the conference, and it may be flanked by sandbags, just like the monuments in Ukraine are at the moment.
In addition, Galschiøt will offer the participants to get a banner for events that commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre or support the Hongkongers' fight against China's destruction of the city's democracy and fundamental rights.
22 May - 20 June
On 22 May, the 8m high Pillar of Shame will be erected in the middle of Berlin. The sculpture is a copy of the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong, Mexico and Brazil, in gray color. The exhibition has been created in collaboration with the Axel Springer Freedom Foundation, which facilitates the project.
Before China's takeover, there was, in Hong Kong, an annual tradition for prominent members of the democracy movement to (re)paint the pillar of shame Orange. On the opening day in Berlin, we follow the tradition and paint the sculpture Orange, which looks like the Pillar of Shame that is locked up in Hong Kong. The painting event is open to everyone and will be a kind of photo opportunity for people who want to mark their protest against China's censorship of the Massacre in Beijing in 1989, and the country's takeover of Hong Kong.
June 4 is the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre. Therefore, a candlelight vigil has been organized in Berlin on the date. Here exile-Hongkongers and sympathizers can gather to commemorate the massacre and support Hong Kong's freedom struggle. The event will be linked to the ceremony in Taiwan (where Galschiøt will participate) as well as banner manifestations in the rest of the world.
30 May - 9 June
Galschiøt visit Taiwan
Galschiøt has been invited to Taiwan and he will be there from May 30th -June 9th. On June 4, he will play a central role in the commemoration of the massacre at Tiananmen Square in Beijing in 1989. In Taipei, there is already a 3-meter high 3D printed Pillar of Shame sculpture as a memorial to the massacre.
In addition, Galschiøt is planning to meet with China-critical artists, Taiwanese minorities and politicians, as well as a lot of other activities.
Petition to release the Pillar of Shame in Hong Kong
Our Chinese curator Loretta Lau is in the process of organizing a petition for museums and artists to sign, in support of the release of The Pillar of Shame. The signatures are to be used to put extra pressure on The University of Hong Kong, which has kept the orange Pillar of Shame locked inside a steel container for over a year. If you are an artist or represent a museum and would like to support with your signature, please contact Loretta at email@example.com
Over a year has gone since my sculpture was taken down on December 22, 2021 in the middle of the night. It came as a shock to me as I was not informed about it. Now I cannot even get information about where my sculpture is. So says Danish artist Jens Galschiøt. He is the creator and rightful owner of the Pillar of Shame. A sculpture that commemorates the Tiananmen Massacre in Beijing in 1989 and was erected at University of Hong Kong in 1997 by Hong Kongs students and the Democratic Alliance.
For over a year, Galschiot has tried to find a way to get the sculpture out of Hong Kong and back to Europe. The Pillar of Shame has been described as the most sought after sculpture in the world and it is extremely valuable - both economically and as an artistic symbol of resistance against Chinas clenching of basic freedom rights in Hong Kong. Therefore it is imperative to get it back.
The Artist don't even know which state the sculpture is in, and it looked like it was damaged when the University took it down. I publicly offered to come to Hong Kong with a crew to take the sculpture down, warning it could be damaged if they did it without me. The offer was all over the media in Hong Kong, so the university cannot have missed it - still they never contacted me, says Galschiot.
It is quite frustrating, Galschiot says. My shipping company is ready to transport the sculpture, and I have a crane company on standby in Hong Kong. I need the sculpture for an exhibition at my gallery in Denmark. He continues The University of Hong Kong knows that it is my property, which they have clearly confirmed to my lawyers - so the sculpture should be in my possession and not locked in a container somewhere in Hong Kong.
Galschiot is clearly frustrated: My lawyers have been contacting University of Hong Kong through the universitys lawyers for months and months. First they did not answer at all. When they finally responded the solicitor was out of office. Then he had left for three weeks' vacation. And now the lawyers say they haven't got 'any instructions from University of Hong Kong in respect of our proposal to inspect and remove the Pillar'. My curator can't even get access to see the Pillar. For me it seems like deliberate obstruction, and I think China is pulling the strings, deliberately obstructing the process of getting the Pillar of Shame out of Hong Kong. See full corespondence.
Galschiots says he thinks that China is afraid of the sculpture and of it being exhibited: The Pillar of Shame sends a reminder of Chinas brutal aggression in Tiananmen in 1989 - and later their destruction of the democracy movement and basic human rights in Hong Kong. Galschiot continues: Paradoxically, by locking the symbol of freedom of expression into a steel container, China has made a new symbol of their own brutal takeover of Hong Kong where they have forbidden all freedom of expression.
Return the Pillar - A Campaign to get The Pillar of Shame back.
Now the Hong Kong supporting organisation NGOdei has lost its patience and started a campaign - called Return the Pillar - aiming to use digital tools like 3d prints and augmented reality to make the Pillar of Shame present everywhere. In this way the digital Pillar of Shame will be used as a driving force for the Hong Kong Freedom movement, and create awareness about the situation in order to get the sculpture out of the grip of University of Hong Kong and shipped abroad. I am grateful that NGOdei has started the campaign, says Galschiot and continues, and I am honoured that the Hong Kong movement will use my sculpture in their struggle against Chinese takeover. He ends: I really hope the Return the Pillar campaign can help get the process running to get the sculpture out of Hong Kong.
In 1997, I erected an 8 meter tall monument in Hong Kong in memorial of the massacre. This monument is so far still the only memorial about the Tiananmen Square massacre on Chinese soil.
Placing this sculpture in Hong Kong cost me a permanent expulsion from China and two expulsions from Hong Kong. I think it's important that artists, cultural groups, and others that defend human rights use their freedom of speech to tell the story of the massacre. I hope that you will help in doing this.
32 years after the massacre history seems to be tragically repeating itself. Now with Hong Kong as the epicenter for youth demanding their basic Human Rights and the Chinese Government forcefully fighting down the youth. China has passed landmark legislation to force national security laws in Hong Kong, effectively crushing the city's autonomy, removing pro-democratic forces from the parliament and sending pro-democrats in jail.
In February 2020 I erected ‘A Pillar of Shame’ sculpture in front of the Danish parliament, as a protest against that China is once again using extreme force against youth people demonstrating for their democracy rights, this time in Hong Kong.
The China's National People's Congress are now directly interfering with the justice system and the freedom of speech in Hong Kong, which is an unprecedented violation of the agreement between England and China for the handover of Hong Kong. China has fundamentally changed the status of Hong Kong and basic Human and Democracy rights are no longer respected as they used to be.
About Hong Kong at the moment
China’s supression of free speech is spreading to Hong Kong. Galschiot is just one of many critics who have been denied entry. So the city is deprived of a cultural exchange that is taken for granted in all open democratic societies. The expulsions are a blatant violation of the principle of ‘One country – Two systems’ that was guaranteed as part of Hong Kong’s reunion with China in ‘97.
In 2013 Galschiøt managed to enter Hong Kong to repair ‘The Pillar of Shame’. In these very years Hong Kong stands on the precipice of realizing the 1997 agreements with China, to develop a real democracy in Hong Kong. But they are under a lot of pressure from non-democratic forces. The results of these negotiations are crucial for the future of Hong Kong.
Throughout 2019 and 2020 massive demonstrations in Hong Kong took place. They fought for their basic human rights that China promised Hong Kong's citizens when they took over the country in 1997, But the peaceful demonstrations have been met with comprehensive violent force from Hong Kong's police.
Today China has passed landmark legislation to force national security laws in Hong Kong, effectively crushing the city's autonomy, removing pro-democratic forces from the parliament and sending pro-democrats in jail.
A functioning democracy on Chinese ground, even though only in Hong Kong, has been an extremely important symbol for the more than one billion living in mainland China. With the new security law, this symbol is gone.
The Pillar of Shame was taken down by university of Hong Kong on Dec. 22, 2021. It was dont in the cover of night, without any information to the sculptures rightful owner, Jens Galschiøt.
The democracy movement in Hong Kong:
Phone: +852 2782 6111
NOTE - The democracy movement is no more, and many of its members are in jail due to Hong Kongs security Law.
About Jens Galschiøt
Danish artist Jens Galschiøt has created many socio-critical sculptures and installations through the years. Most often they are placed in public spaces around the world – as needle-sticks and silent reminders of a world that, in his opinion, is out of balance, and where exploitation of the world’s resources, inequality and migration are a constant part of the picture.
Among the visitors are two presidents
Loretta Lau er kurator og leder kampagnen "Return the Pillar" gennem NGO DEI.
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