MAASTRICHT. Yellow paper snowmen with umbrellas, pictures of students studying in the open air, mobile libraries, graffiti, art, the Lennon Wall full of post-its, policemen using force. Ruby Yeung, a master’s student of Arts and Heritage, has organised an exhibition about the student demonstration calling for genuine universal suffrage in her hometown of Hong Kong. The protest, which is still continuing on a smaller scale, is directed against China’s stance on allowing only pro-Beijing candidates to run in the elections for Chief Executive in 2017. The umbrella has become the symbol of this civil disobedience movement: protesters use them to defend themselves against tear gas, pepper spray and rain.
“I arrived in Maastricht in August. When the Umbrella Movement broke out late September I watched the news as much as I could and stayed in touch with my friends at home. I wanted to go back but didn’t have the money. ‘Don’t skip your studies’, my Maastricht friends said. ‘Make use of your position, make the people in Maastricht and the Netherlands aware of what’s happening here’, my Hong Kong friends said.” So she did. She went to two demonstrations, one in The Hague and one in Amsterdam, and decided to put together an exhibition. She is currently organising a demonstration in The Hague on 7 December. “Other students from Hong Kong will join me. I want to put these umbrella snowmen, made by visitors to the exhibition, on Het Plein in The Hague. It’s about using art to raise awareness.”
The exhibition is open Monday to Friday until 5 December in the Mondiaal Centrum, Cortenstraat 4, Maastricht.