The Observers

Hong Kong activists counter removal of 'Pillar of Shame' with digital rendering

Hong Kong University has announced that the "Pillar of Shame" sculpture will be removed from its place in the school's entrance.
Hong Kong University has announced that the "Pillar of Shame" sculpture will be removed from its place in the school's entrance. © Observers

Even though the Pillar of Shame sculpture is set to be removed from its place in Hong Kong University, it won't be gone forever. A group of artists are working to create a digital 3D archive of the piece, which is a memorial to the victims of the Tiananmen Square massacre. They say the sculpture is one of the city's last symbols of democracy and freedom of speech.

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The Pillar of Shame was created by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt, and inaugurated in 1997, eight years after the Tiananmen Square massacre, where the Chinese army turned one of the biggest pro-democracy protests in the country's history into a bloodbath.

The Lady Liberty collective was created online during Hong Kong's 2019 protests. They use art to raise awareness about what is going on in Hong Kong. The FRANCE 24 Observers team spoke to "Flash", an artist in their 30s who is part of the group. 

The artist explained how they are using pictures of all angles of the Pillar of Shame to create a 3D image of the sculpture that will persist even if authorities remove the physical version.

"They can try to censor public spaces in Hong Kong," Flash said. "But they cannot censor the internet."

Watch the full episode above to hear more.

>> Read more on The Observers: Hong Kong activists create digital rendering of the ‘Pillar of Shame’ to save it from authorities