Arts in Politics

The universal nature of the arts propel strong messages that are interpreted in many different ways that words cannot. This is predominantly helpful in the world of politics. 

Arts in Politics

Music and arts are universal. Although we as humans cannot convey the way others express themselves through general conventional ways of communication ie. words of speech. This is where we have the arts where it transcends the barriers that are imposed on by humans based on our culture or background. Sometimes there are language barriers and sometimes there are cultural restrictions. But the arts can be understood universally, with many interpretations and expressions of emotion and ideas. Especially with music; music bridges metaphysical human connections. Much like how some teachers in school encourage different students to learn and use sign language to be able to communicate with those less able, music can also be a form of communication. The purest form of communication has its indescribable ability to exhibit the speech of the heart.

Owing to the fact that the arts can produce a strong message, with its indescribable nature of emotion and power, this will pose some problems in our societies. In 2019 - 2020 in Hong Kong there was a protest movement called the Anti-Extradition Law Amendment Bill Movement. It was essentially a bill that was going to be passed down that if a crime was committed, the person could be brought back to mainland China for trials. This would mean sentencing and laws would be completely different than in Hong Kong and trials may be unfair on the person. One example of this would be the death sentence being used instead of incarceration. These activists that take part in this protest movement used artwork, painting, music, and different sorts of artistic proclamations and expressions. These were used as a strategy to further the awareness of the events that were happening to the city. Despite the fact that creating these beautiful pieces of protest art may seem as a peaceful alternative than actually participating in the ongoing protests and a lot more anonymous, the fact that these pieces of art can connect with so many people and the strong message it delivers internationally, it can be used very powerfully. This is why the police and government officials would want to suppress and arrest these artists due to the amount of emotion and influence it had.

A lot of Hong Kong’s protest art was heavily inspired by Japanese styled anime, memes and anti authoritarian symbols and themes. This would include the symbol of the Pepe Frog, and Lady Liberty Hong Kong. The Lady Liberty Hong Kong statue is reminiscent of the Statue of Liberty. The design concept was inspired by a typical outfit worn by the protestors to protect themselves from the police typically using tear gas. The outfit consisted of a yellow helmet, goggles, and a gas mask. The statue also held an umbrella, a common symbol used as it was a tool to deflect the tear gas shot by the police. The statue also held a banner with the slogan “Liberate Hong Kong, Revolution of our times”. The powerful message this represented has caused the statue to be vandalised and removed by unknown assailants. The statue represented the unprecedented bravery of the Hong Kong protesters still voicing out their opinions even with the horrible treatment they were facing.

Another crucial piece of the arts in this movement would be the musical piece “Glory to Hong Kong”. It is composed in the style of an anthem, written with so much emotion and meaning. Since Hong Kong is a special administrative region of China, it is separate but different. With this anthem, it essentially symbolises that Hong Kong is an independent country from China. This shows how music influences us and represents and reflects on the identities of what the people believed to belong in. Due to how much influence and power this song held and the extensive search of the term “the national anthem of Hong Kong” on Google, it was even used in several international competitions. China did not condone this and Hong Kong authorities accused the song of promoting ideas of subversion and terrorism and banned it under the Hong Kong National Security Law. Just because of a strong message through music, people are able to be punished with life imprisonment.

Predominantly speaking, I believe that the arts are a strong way to convey the emotions and views of the people. This is due to the fact artistry is published anonymously most of the time and it helps people who don't have a voice and helps large groups of people's voices to be heard. On top of that I think political art in Hong Kong is a great way to spread awareness internationally about the situation there.

Header Image Credit: “HK Protest Art, Kwai Fong Lennon wall,” Studio Incendo

This is a user generated post from our Arts Award on Voice community and was not edited by the Voice team. We would love to hear your views too! Sign up for an account and make your Voice heard!

Author

Shaun Wong

Shaun Wong

I am a 17 year-old guitarist, who has explored many genres of guitar through my 14 years of playing, including prog-rock, shred, modern guitar, jazz, blues, classic rock, prog-metal, funk, funk rock, jazz fusion, slap bass, classical guitar, flamenco guitar, etc. I am currently working at a LTCL Undergraduate performance level in Classical Guitar. Although I have achieved and awarded many awards and worked on the art of playing the guitar for years, I never really tried combining different forms of art in my guitar life to enhance its ability to express emotions. I grew up loving art in general, and wish to combine visual, performance, digital arts, etc into my way of conveying and expressing emotion.

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2 Comments

  • Jamie Long

    On 13 March 2024, 13:55 Jamie Long commented:

    Wow very interesting, i never knew that arts could be used in such a powerful way from a political standpoint. it really shows the interconnections of art and the inner emotions of people.

  • Athena Azizi

    On 13 March 2024, 14:03 Athena Azizi commented:

    Very thought provoking essay. Great way to express and bring awareness of the politics of Hong Kong

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