Spanish artist, Pejac, recently visited Hong Kong, where he created a few small art pieces – small, but large in representation. Last September Hong Kong had the world’s attention as a social movement erupted in the city from social unrest. Freedom of speech and democracy has long been stifled in the country, and it was a decision regarding proposed reforms to the Hong Kong electoral system that fanned the flame of foreseen ongoing social oppression. The protests, marches, occupations and acts of civil disobedience began from organizing students and youth, and quickly lead to include more support from other citizens. Labeled as the Umbrella Revolution because of self-defense tactics used by protesters from fire hose spraying by police, the movement lasted over two months.
Pejac decided to visit the city and reflect on the social movement through is own acts of art. The artist is known for his conceptual fine and street art creations. Instead of producing large works of art, small pieces were produced – small but powerful. A street artist often works with the city, choosing specific locations for their context and creating works that speak to that spot. In a country that keeps a close watch on its citizens and their actions, street art can be difficult to produce, especially on the large scale, and very difficult if it is charged with political critique. So, to evade censorship or worse, Pejac brought his big thinking to the small scale and created these three works of art.
Pejac painted his rendition of Rodin’s The Thinker on a window in his hotel room. The figure is sat upon the towering buildings of Hong Kong in the background, thinking, which Pejac feels is an act which residents are restricted with.
Located in central Hong Kong on Hollywood Road 97, this small piece is of a small dragon tagging a heart on the wall with its fire breath. The dragon in Chinese mythology is seen as a symbol of power, strength, and good luck. Pejac actually employed the use of a blowtorch for this creation. In this case Pejac has shrunk the creature to a docile size, stating “This ferocious mythical animal that can cause hurricanes and floods, here becomes a domesticated pet.”
Pejac created MSN Hotmail Butterfly and enclosed it in a small glass jar, which he set in front of the Central Government Complex of Hong Kong. The site was chosen because it was where a lot of the demonstrations of the Umbrella Revolution were focused. He states: “It works as a metaphor of the imprisonment of free speech and communication in Chinese peoples’ lives. The butterfly is not killed but trapped, being able to see and feel, but left to slowly die.”