The Danish artist who created a sculpture to honor the dead of tiananmen square, hired a lawyer to protect his work and recover it, after the University of Hong Kong (HKU) ordered his removal.
The work “Pillar of Shame”Eight meters high, by the sculptor Jens Galschiot, has been on the HKU campus since 1997, the year Hong Kong was once again under Chinese sovereignty.
The work presents 50 haunted faces and tortured bodies stacked one on top of the other, commemorating pro-democracy protesters killed by Chinese soldiers in 1989 in Tiananmen Square in Beijing.
Last week, which is also the Hong Kong’s oldest university ordered its removal by this week citing “legal advice,” at a time when the authorities repress the dissent.
The sculptor said that hired a local lawyer and requested a hearing at the university to discuss the future of the statue as the deadline approached.
“Me I hope my ownership of the sculpture is respected and that I can get it out of Hong Kong in an orderly manner and without suffering any damage ”, he expressed in an email to the agency AFP.
The The University of Hong Kong said it “is still seeking legal advice and working with the parties involved to deal with the matter in a legal and reasonable manner.”
Galschiot said that prefers the statue to continue in Hong Kong. And if it were to be destroyed by the authorities, Hong Kongers should collect “All the possible pieces of the Pillar of Shame”he commented.
“These pieces can be used for some symbolic manifestation that ’empires pass, but art persists’“, he pointed.
Repression of dissidents
He also indicated that he has been in contact with people in Hong Kong who have scanned the sculpture in 3D to reproduce it in miniature.
Hong Kong was the only place in China where events to remember the Tiananmen dead were allowed. But after the huge and sometimes violent pro-democracy demonstrations of 2019, China has transformed the city in its own authoritarian image.
Numerous opposition figures have been imprisoned or fled abroad, and the last two vigils to remember the Tiananmen massacre were banned, according to the authorities, due to the coronavirus.
City authorities warned that commemorating the Tiananmen events could be seen as subversion under a national security law imposed by Beijing on Hong Kong last year.
The city has some of the best universities in Asia and has been projected as a bastion of academic freedom. But lately, academics critical of the government have seen their contracts cut.
In the last days, Students and villagers have come to the HKU to take photos with the statue.
“Now I must be more careful with the day to day on campus“, He commented to AFP an art student who identified himself as Vincent, when visiting the pillar. “I’m always thinking about the things that are no longer allowed in college.”
(With information from AFP)