Hong Kong, China – Using an x-acto knife, Winnie Wat cuts strips of masking tape and sticks them onto the terminal floor of Hong Kong’s international airport, where hundreds of pro-democracy protesters are holding a three-day sit-in.
Referring to a design on her phone case, the secondary school teacher fixes tape in horizontal lines to create a Hong Kong ambigram, a word that can be read differently depending on its orientation. In Chinese, “Hong” one way reads “peace” the other way.
“We are all witnesses,” said Wat, who is in her 30s. All around her, other black-clad protesters are cutting stickers, assembling posters, painting illustrations and creating graphic designs on their computers.
“Everyone is doing what they can do. There is no one [in control],” she said. When it comes to promotional materials for the anti-government protests, creation and contribution are completely egalitarian.
On Friday, Hong Kong’s international airport could have been mistaken for a studio. Many of the dozens of black-clad protesters participating in the sit-in used the terminal floor to design and disseminate art informing travellers of the civil unrest that has roiled the Chinese territory for the past 10 weeks.
Anti-government protests have rocked the Asian financial hub over a now-shelved bill that would allow China to extradite accused individuals to face trial on the mainland.
The public furore over the legislation transformed into a wider backlash against increasing Chinese interference in the semi-autonomous region.
At risk are the city’s cherished civil liberties, enshrined by the “One Country, Two Systems” framework established when the British returned the city to Chinese rule in 1997.
There is no one central authority or figure that governs the direction of the protests. Organised largely via social media apps, the anti-government movement is largely leaderless.
The same goes for its promotional materials. From creation to dissemination, design…