The Yellow Fight


The process of creating my final print The Yellow Fight.

Mabel Liu, Scripps College '21

interviewed Marshall Weber

The Yellow Fight is a continuation of the discussions surrounding Hong Kong’s Umbrella Movement. In September 2014, Hong Kongers (mostly students and youth) took to the streets as a protest for political freedom and universal suffrage for Hong Kong. When policemen used tear gas and pepper spray in hopes of dissipating the sit-in crowd, umbrellas emerged as a shield and become a symbol of the movement. The Umbrella Movement was spearheaded by Hong Kong University law professor Benny Tai, as well as students Joshua Wong, Nathan Law, and Alex Chow, among others. 

As a mere 14-year-old when the protest groups began organizing sit-ins in my city’s financial district, my own perspective of the movement was still being shaped as I had little knowledge of Hong Kong’s political climate. Looking back four years later, I have gained a more thorough understanding and am now taking my personal stance through this artwork. China’s Communist Party have long desired to maintain political control over Hong Kong; Beijing has insisted that candidates for Hong Kong’s chief-executive should be screened and vetted by Chinese figures. This process, however, is contradictory to the freedom that Hong Kong youth have grown up with, and we certainly fear of receiving China’s continued enforcement lest it lead to impositions like lack of free speech. So, the youth of Hong Kong protest: we want true democracy and freedom over our city.

For my art piece, I wanted to focus on this topic to shed light on Hong Kong’s current political climate. While conversations regarding democracy of Hong Kong have largely died down, it is still persistent in the minds of many. The image and topic of my artwork was specifically influenced by the artist Ganzeer, who came to Scripps College for the bi-annual Goudy lecture. While Ganzeer does not enjoy labelling himself as a specific type of artist, it is clear that his work is derived from his own cultural identity. His artwork Mask of Freedom (2011) is just one example of his protest art—with art, he aims to challenge and criticize. I was inspired by his work both conceptually and stylistically; I drew from my own cultural background and aimed to mimic Ganzeer’s clean lines and bright colors to create a stark image.

The symbol of the movement, the umbrella, is depicted in my art as slanted, protecting the flower—the five-petal Hong Kong orchid featured on our flag—from outside impositions. I also wanted the color of the movement, yellow, to dominate the page, to communicate a sense of radiance, optimism and enlightenment. Therefore, I decided to use a linoleum block, and carved out the image of the umbrella so that the ink would be printed as the background (as opposed to the outline of the umbrella). To create contrast, the lettering is shown in dark maroon to relay an emotionally charged feeling. While the yellow resembles hope for the future of Hong Kong, the maroon provides a subtle sense of urgency to remind us that Hong Kong’s political state must not be forgotten or ignored. The font used was Garamond, a simple clean font that reflects the directness of my desired message.

Though simple and straightforward, I am proud of my final print. By creating this piece, I hope to reignite conversations about the state of democracy for Hong Kong and hope that more people will be informed of the movement and how it continues to affect our city.