Umbrellas protected protesters from tear-gas spraying policemen during a student class boycott and became a symbol for a movement exposing flaws within bureaucracy in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong protests where calm in nature but authorities didn’t believe so because it was used as a platform to expose flaws within the government.
The power of bureaucrats in Hong Kong constantly suppresses the values and ideals of its citizens: hegemony in its purest form. Therefore, citizens struggle to stand up for what they believe in and turn to protests to express their concerns.
Art in Hong Kong is not valued within the common curriculum which frustrates students and faculty members because art can be an outlet for self-expression. Artists from all over China took to the Hong Kong protests and used their art whether it was paint, sculptures, or music to fight for injustice.
Artists then took the umbrella symbol to the next level. Wen Yau gave people a safe space to decorate their umbrellas based on how they were feeling on busy streets and Milk created a sculpture called “Umbrella Man” as a sign of power and protection for the people of Hong Kong.
Art, in its purest form, is powerful and it's time people noticed.