Oct 21 2019
Lennon Walls encapsulate the HK mvmt: a colorful meeting of low-tech ingenuity coupled w/ high-energy organisation, providing a supportive community (& kick-ass art galleries!) to dreamers everywhere.
Some history first. The original Lennon Wall in Prague was used to protest Communist rule -via art!- from 1980s & inspired the 1st one in HK during☂Mvmt, when we adorned a staircase by govt HQ w/ post-its. Each Wall carries the memory of all who fought tyranny before us.
Like the original, the beauty of HK’s Lennon Walls is that everyone in the community can take part, as our art shows.
LIHKG, TG, Reddit, Twitter…which hv bn useful forums for the mvmt, all impose barriers of language or technology for large swathes of the HK population.
My retired dad or a 5yo are unlikely gg to learn how to Tweet %#$! at HKPF. But at the Walls, they can express themselves thru art, music, words. HKers who can’t be on frontlines can contribute & find their community, adding their voices to discussions of who we are as a ppl.
But even writing notes of hope & rebellion now carry risks. Organised grps hv ripped our art to shreds, lashing out w/ violence when confronted. Pro-CCP thugs hv stabbed HKers exercising right to free speech at the Walls. In our art, a shadow falls in the place of light.
We are uncowed. When walls get destroyed, we rebuild together. There’s so much we want to say we joke the thugs are doing us a favor, clearing space for new discussions. Still, we stick up hexes for those who tear down our walls, cursing them w/ bad luck at gambling (rhs)😈
And so, our Lennon Walls hv blossomed. From that one staircase on HK Island, we now find them in underpasses in NT, bridges in Kowloon, sides of malls, corners of shops. A city-wide art installation, alive, putting down roots in places we never thought cld sustain such hopes.
And so, our Lennon Walls hv bloomed. Support from the diaspora for HK’s cause means we’ve seen them spring up around the globe - Taipei, Sydney, San Francisco, Berlin… wherever HKers can be found, the chances are good that there’s a wall, bedecked in kind wishes & neons.
Our Lennon walls have evolved. Our mosaic wall art has become more intricate (and well-planned!). We’ve now started ‘tiling’ floors (harder to destroy). And when there are no walls handy, there’s always the ‘Lennon Person’ - a Lovecraftian horror of Post-its & legs. 😝
There’s also @badiucao’s gift to HKers - the Lennon Wall flag, a more portable version of our beloved symbol. The colors evoke a sense of community & intersectionality. 10/14
1/ #LennonWallFlag My art design for HK. Hope it fly as a new icon for #FreedomHongKong Great support from Denise Ho @hoccgoomusic，a gift for her to return HK after Melb meet. Read more from link Get the design via link or QR code
Our Lennon Walls will stand, bcos they’re more than the sea of Post-its, paper & tape that give them life.
The Walls are a loud, joyous visual reminders of our freedom of expression. A way for HKers to voice out what they cannot at the ballot box - at least not yet.
The Walls are HKers reclaiming our public spaces, relearning our relationship w/ the bridges, underpasses - sinews of our home. A way to tell those who want to douse our colorful hopes in blue - this space, this city… it’s ours, not yours, at least not yet.
The Walls are our community. We lovingly place our hopes, our fears, our anger, our despair beside others, knowing that those who come to this place will understand. And they do, because we’re all working towards a dream that’s not been fulfilled, at least not yet.
You may say I’m a dreamer, putting significance on a flutter of notes, ephemeral as thought. But I look at how our Lennon Walls have grown & blossomed, how they’ve endured even when shorn of words & art, & I know, I’m not the only one. HKers, we all dream in riotous color.
BONUS: Adding one of my fave pics so far[…]
It’s a fierce warrior, decked out in armour made of Post-its. May our truths, our dreams, our hopes protect us from harm!
##Update, Feb 22 2020
Lennon walls have not gone away. In fact, with #coronavirus, they’ve become places for local communities to spread news about the virus, & information about disease prevention/ hygienic practices. Because, you know, the govt ain’t gonna do it, & no one trusts them anyway.
Lennon walls have also gone mobile. Our lifts, back of bus chairs, that small space around windows… if there’s a flat space, and no cops around, the chances are good there’s some protest art adorning it.
And… there’s also the Lennon toilets…
One of the more imaginative developments is the ‘blossoming’ of Lennon walls inside … toilets - 連儂廁. Posters and graffiti adorning cubicle doors and stickers around hand dryers. I feel bad for the cleaners, but it’s nice to have some reading material when doing business? 😅
Lennon walls aren’t just for info on fighting tyrants & virus. HKers have one other enemy - PUBLIC EXAMS! 🤓
“Work hard. Add oil. You can do it. I believe in you♥. Believe in yourself. Take a deep breath… Your whole life’s ahead of you, this is just one obstacle.”