Words of the Umbrella Movement

In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography

“No to Pre-selected Candidates” banner on a back-lit bus shelter advertising. Unintentionally combining the written banner with the calligraphic artwork of a property development artwork.

In a city where the majority of writing is finger scribbled on the screen of a smartphone, Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement has developed into an unexpected platform for handwriting and handmade typography.

 

 

 

Collection of handwritten and handmade words from mun-ji.com

 

Breath

 

Joy


Fierce


Throughout the occupied areas, students and protesters have created and put up a large amount of visually striking handmade banners and signs to express themselves.

A four character sign saying “In the light of honesty” becomes part of a barricade in Harcourt Village, Admiralty

Vertical arrangement unique to Asian languages, seen on banners hanging on a bridge that leads to the government headquarters, above the protest area. Harcourt Village, Admiralty


The spirit of Chinese calligraphy or ‘shu-fa’; which literally means “the way of writing”, is an outlet to practice self-discipline and concentration, and to articulate thoughts and emotions with brush strokes. With or without aesthetic considerations, the written words of the Umbrella Movement have undeniably shown qualities of calligraphy and typography design, and can definitely be appreciated as such.

 

A banner written in retro style asking protesters to patron the small shops and businesses that may be affected by the protests. Lower Nathan Village, Mong Kok


The occupied streets or “villages” as some called them, have grown into a place where anyone can freely express their words and share them publicly. As they express their political views, cheer on and encourage fellow protesters, and write banters to mock government officials, these calligraphy and typography designs currently hanging in the streets have inadvertently become one of the icons of Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement.

 

3D letters “Add Oil”, a Chinese figure of speech meaning to “give effort” “to stay strong” or “Add Fuel”. – Harcourt Village, Admiralty.

 

Calligraphy poetry on the top of a tram stop, the tram stop is also shelter for protesters staying overnight. – Causeway Bay, Hong Kong

 

A banner with the words “Civil Disobedience” laying on an area of dead bushes that was trampled on the day the police fired teargas at protesters. – Harcourt Village, Admiralty

 

Calligraphy written on umbrellas. – Harcourt Village, Admiralty

 

The large word “bath” labels a shower station for protesters built by the students. -Harcourt Village, Admiralty.

 

Banner created with found materials. Harcourt Village, Admiralty


Yan Kallen is a visual artist from Hong Kong. See more at mun-ji.com

 

Word

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