Paper Over the Cracks

Giraffe Leung Lok-hei


As Milan Kundera once said, ‘the struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting’. Artist Giraffe Leung Lok-hei’s street art series ‘Paper Over the Cracks’ are vivid reminders of the spirit of resistance during the ongoing social movement in Hong Kong. 


Over the past year, the streets of Hong Kong have witnessed a proliferation of creative energies, including posters, illustrations, calligraphy and protest slogan graffiti created by the protesters. Amid the coronavirus outbreak, these artistic legacies from the protests have been torn down or painted over by government workers, leading to a scarred cityscape. The artist frames these scars with bright yellow tapes and gives them labels as if these were artworks in a museum or gallery. These yellow frames exemplifies how the artist deals with traumatic memories of the social movement. 


The artist later developed his works into a community artistic project when many Hong Kong citizens joined him to give the city’s visible repair works from the protests an ‘artwork label’. These works include paper scraps of torn down posters left on Lennon Walls and the botched paint jobs to cover up protest slogans. Yellow frames pop up in various locations of the city, where skirmishes between protesters and police had taken place, reminding people of the struggle against power and emotional wounds during the social movement. The more the authorities want to erase the past, the more important it is for the people to preserve the truth and collective memories. 


The world is gradually returning to normal when the virus is under control. However, the year-long struggle of Hong Kong people against the tyranny of fear continues.

Image 15 - Paper over the cracks.JPG