Humans of Hong Kong

Humans of Hong Kong

Translated version of feature stories and interviews by Stand News. 立場新聞專題、人訪的英文版本。

2020/6/7 - 19:53

A Hong Kong Artist Lighting 64 Candles in Prague in Memory of the 1989 Tiananmen Square Massacre

Even as the candlelight vigil in Hong Kong to mark the 31st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre was banned, a Hong Kong artist Lorretta attempted to light 64 candles at Wenceslas Square in Prague. As she lit up one candle, the evening breeze would blow out another. In the end, it was with the help of her audience that all 64 candlelights could flicker in the wind.

Loretta said that her failure to light all 64 candles on her own symbolised that the brightness of the human spirit cannot be manifested by one person’s efforts alone. Only if the whole world comes together can we achieve a better future.

圖片由藝術家提供

圖片由藝術家提供

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(Loretta in Wenceslas Square)

Loretta is currently doing a master's degree in Visual Arts in Prague. Last year she tried to raise awareness of Hong Kong’s protest movement and police brutality by staging a 24-hour show at Václav Havel Square. On the eve of this year’s Tiananmen Square Massacre anniversary, Loretta brought her new piece entitled ‘Back to the Spring of Tiananmen’ to Wenceslas Square. The Hong Kong police had banned the candlelight vigil for the first time in the city’s history, citing a gathering ban and need for social distancing. Therefore, Loretta held a candlelight vigil and staged a piece of performance art in Prague. Nothing can stop Hong Kongers’ pursuit of freedom, she said.

圖片由藝術家提供

圖片由藝術家提供

Her performance has two parts. It started off with the artist's failed attempt to light 64 candles, which symbolised that the brightness of the human spirit cannot be manifested by one person’s efforts alone, but only if the whole world comes together to achieve a better future. It is followed by a group mediation and the artist’s monologue of a fictional story stretching from 1989 to 2019. It is a story of an exchange student who went to Beijing and witnessed her best friend’s death during the Tiananmen Square Massacre. She moved to Hong Kong, which was still a city with freedoms then, and put down her roots, giving birth to her daughter. In 2019, she was haunted by fear that her 15-year-old daughter would follow in her friend’s footsteps and lose her life while protesting.

As it was raining that night, there were only around 20 people in the audience, Loretta told Stand News. After the performance, an American girl told her tearfully that she could imagine herself as the protagonist, and what happened at Tiananmen Square in 1989 appeared vividly before her eyes. She understood that the students in June Fourth and Hong Kongers today were both pursuing freedom, democracy and human rights, though in a different time and place. Others who had known little about the Massacre said they learnt more about it from the performance. Prior to the performance, local police especially inquired about the nature of the event out of concerns the performer may set herself on fire.