Art and Freedom in Hong Kong | Close up - The Current Affairs Documentary | DW | 02.12.2019
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Art and Freedom in Hong Kong

Hundreds of thousands of people in Hong Kong are protesting against police brutality and China’s influence on the former British colony. Hong Kong’s artists are right on the front line. How are they protesting - and at what price?

Watch video 27:50

Hong Kong’s art scene is worried the Chinese government is about to clamp down on the artistic freedoms and is joining the protesters on the streets, where symbols of pop culture abound. Many of the protestors are from the globalized generation, whose cultural universe stretches from Bruce Lee to Anime, from hip-hop to K-pop. Unlike young Chinese from the mainland, the protestors have grown up with the Internet and freedom of the press. Dressed up as Captain America and Manga heroes, they are mobilizing fellow protestors via Twitter, Telegram and WhatsApp, going out onto the streets and plastering their drawings and messages of peace on brightly colored Lennon walls. Pictures by the famous caricaturist Justin Wong are also on display. He has sketched the current situation for our camera and his drawings have been shared across social media thousands of times. What do the artists want to achieve? What is the message they want to spread among the people? This film addresses these questions up front. The documentary follows acclaimed curator and art critic Yang Yeung, who says: "We don’t have to stop creating art to go out and protest. We can do both at the same time. In fact, we HAVE TO do both." She sees the entire protests as one huge performance.