SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. — In 2019, the world saw thousands take to the streets of Hong Kong to protest the increasingly restrictive measures being put in place on the island by Beijing, and watched as police became increasingly more violent with protestors and cracked down further on dissent.
Among those thousands of activists, artists, students and other citizens were photographers, videographers, writers, sound artists and more who captured the moments and scenes in real time and chronicled theirs and others’ experiences.Some of those artifacts have become part of a new multimedia exhibition, “afterbefore: images and voices from Hong Kong,” which is now on display at the Hera Gallery through Jan. 30.
“The mission of the ‘afterbefore’ project is to create a platform for Hong Kong artists to be seen and heard at this critical time; to open a more authentic, personal and intimate window into the Hong Kong experience; and to generate communication, exchange and dialogue with a global network,” the Hera Gallery wrote in a press release.
The exhibit features artistic images and videos of the protests and the protestors, showing moments of unity, strength, resistance and some of the scars inflicted on the protestors. Additionally, it features texts by Hong Kong writers and cultural figures, along with self-published zines from protestors which popped up during the protests.
“The ‘afterbefore’ project expands the focus from the scenes of confrontation and violence that were largely the purview of the international media toward a focus on both the outer and the inner landscapes of Hong Kong in this moment: the way Hongkongers have been responding, surviving, communicating, questioning, resisting and caring for each other within the landscape of their city,” the Hera Gallery wrote.
The exhibit also goes beyond the more recent protests to connect with over 20 years of citizens of Hong Kong protesting a variety of social, economic and political issues and how they tie together both as movements and into the identities of thousands of Hongkongers.
“Through the lens of these artists, other dimensions of Hong Kong’s protest movements are revealed, as processes of mutual communication and concern, as urgent calls toward preserving Hong Kong space, culture and identity, as well as of resistance,” the Hera Gallery wrote. “At the same time, from within the new landscape of 2020 marked by the COVID-19 pandemic and political crackdown, light is shed on the deep wounding of the personal and collective landscape of Hong Kong.”
Overall, the exhibit is meant to represent and highlight the universality and resonance of the Hong Kong experience and connect it to other movements around the world, such as the Black Lives Matter protests in the United States and other countries.
A talk with the artists was held via Zoom Sunday morning, allowing virtual attendees to hear from the artists and protestors themselves about their works and experiences.
The Hera Gallery is located at 10 High Street in Wakefield and its gallery is open from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays and 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
For more information, visit the Hera Gallery’s website, heragallery.org.