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Artists of Occupy Central: Art for the Umbrella Revolution

By Stasia Fong 31 October 2014
  Occupy Central is drawing people from all over the world to voice their thoughts about the Umbrella Revolution. We spoke with six artists from around the globe who created very unique and beautiful pieces, all featuring the now iconic umbrella.

Alex Barritt

  "I created this illustration because not only was it a very interesting topic of discussion to tackle, but because I also firmly believe in the protesters message. Elections aren't free if the people aren't free to pick their candidates. The message behind the movement is crystal clear, and I wanted this illustration to be just as direct. I chose the umbrella as it is the object most strongly associated with the movement; that the people will have their voices heard, no matter the day. It's a message and symbol many people can relate to, and one that can unite a city. I have met many aspiring local artists from Hong Kong through my alma mater, the Savannah College of Art and Design. They all spoke very highly of their home, and wish it to remain free of heavy Beijing influence. It's my hope that the citizens of Hong Kong continue to stand united in this endeavor." - Alex Barritt, Alexandria, VA, USA

Jason Lai

  "Since Occupy Central has started, so many photos and news have been spreading through the web. Seeing how the police dispersed the protesters, I feel that things have just gone so wrong. The police use a lot of teargas and pepper spray while some of the protesters are just standing and doing nothing, and they can only use their umbrella to defend themselves against the attacks. The Umbrella Revolution is full of love and peace, many Hong Kongers have come out and stayed together to fight for democracy. In my drawing, people are standing amid the teargas, holding umbrellas, fighting for democracy, and looking for our future." - Jason Lai, Hong Kong

Frida Vara Gomez

  "In recent weeks the student population in Mexico has ruled against the cheap labor that benefits very few in our country. Moreover, a couple of weeks ago through the internet I found out the situation in Hong Kong... As a student of visual communication I decided to join the fight through an illustration, giving response to the call of Professor Kacey Wong, Polytechnic University of Hong Kong. He released through his Facebook page asking people to use design as a means of protest to demand more democracy and political participation. My illustration uses a minimalist style, with the contrast of black and yellow to symbolize the unity and universal suffrage. The message is simple: an aerial view of protesters with a yellow umbrella on the street. I want my illustration to generate social reflection, while absorbing fear, and arouse solidarity." - Frida Vara Gomez, Mexico City, Mexico

Chun Shan Liu

  "There is one large-scale revolution originating in Hong Kong, from the students. They sacrifice their time and studies. They are taking risks to strive for what they want. Now, people call this 'Umbrella Revolution'. The purpose of this revolution is universal suffrage. The people who stay in Admiralty, Mong Kok, and Causeway Bay are peaceful, calm, self-regulated, brave, and united. They should get the support from everyone who are Hong Kong citizens. No matter who you are, how old you are, and what you do, you should support and protect the student. They are Hong Kong's future. They fight for you and me. They know what we need is democracy and universal suffrage, but not autocratic governance. Please stand out right now, fight together!" - Chun Shan Liu, Hong Kong

Siutaam Illustration

  "I personally prefer to call it 'Umbrella Revolution'. It is a movement initiated by Hong Kongers (in the beginning most of them are students) who embrace democracy, freedom, and universal suffrage. Protesters occupy the streets because they love the city and hope it can be a better place for all of us. Through occupying various districts, they are urging the government to listen to them and make positives changes. I truly support their motive and appreciate their intelligence, determination and discipline during the movement. These are the good qualities of Hong Kongers. The piece is hand-drawn, then I scanned it to computer for colouring and minor adjustment. I am a fan of hand-lettering so I would love to use this form to express my feelings. The selected words or quotes are from the perspectives of protesters or supporters. The way they are presented is pretty straight-forward. There are just two major colours - black and yellow, with a variety of types. I hope the viewers would focus on the words, think about what Umbrella Revolution means to them, and try to understand more about the protesters. I also hope my piece would be able to cheer the protesters up as this battle is going to be a long one." - Siutaam Illustration, Hong Kong

Gabriel Quiros

  Umbrella Revolution is for me an example of how the organisation of students can create a highly organised and full of symbols movement. One of the most exemplary movements in history. A fight for the freedom, free expression, and democracy that people want to keep, always giving an example of responsibility, peace, and organization. My art is inspired by the peace that represents how students will make a move based on the pillars as whole people and students, while maintaining respect and tranquility. The Yellow Ribbon is representative of the movement, a symbol of the struggle for women's suffrage in the United States, and a symbol of one of the most representative songs of this movement. The umbrella as a symbol of protection and binding of all the people who support this movement, in turn becoming the weapon to break the barriers." - Gabriel Quiros, San Jose, Costa Rica This is the second installment of our 'Artists of Occupy Central' series. Look for more articles coming soon.  

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Born in Singapore and raised in Hong Kong, Stasia Fong is a freelance writer with dreams of breaking into the television industry and executive produce her own television show.