Documenting Lennon Wall in the anti-extradition law protest of Hong Kong 2019

Passer-by in front of Lennon Wall covered with Hong Kong protest-related posters

Lennon Walls first appeared in Prague in 1986 after the murder case of John Lennon and led to a series of protest in communist-ruled Czechoslovakia. Protestors started to draw and express their thoughts on the wall.

In Hong Kong, the idea of Lennon wall first emerged in 2014 only in the Harcourt Road of Admiralty. But in 2019, after the explosion of demonstrations regarding the anti- extradition law, also with all the clashes in districts, ideological fights between the yellow (protestors) and the blue (supporters of the police and the government), Lennon Wall extended and spread into different communities. 

The tunnel next to the Fanling train station is set up as a ‘Lennon tunnel’

Citizens simply put on sticky notes on the wall, bridge or tunnel to express their ideas, thus a community-based Lennon wall is set up. Soon it developed into a platform to spread political ideas and relevant movements. 

The sticker ‘Mr. & Ms. HK People’ originally from the cartoon ‘Mr.Happy’ is stuck on the bridge next to Luk Yeung Galleria, Tsuen Wan.

Posters were all the way across different communities. It is regarded as one of the mass arts in this era. Each of them plays different roles in this mass movement. Some of the posters link with cartoon icons such as Pepe the frog and LIHKG pig, which bring rapport to protestors.

Some of them are translated into different languages, such as English and Japanese. This allows foreigners in the community to know more about what is happening in Hong Kong.

Sticky notes are written in Korean, which says “Five demand, not one less, until the end”

Some posters were produced artistically, including oil painted portraits of the protest leaders, as well as photos including Hong Kong local elements such as neon lights. Such posters capture the public’s attention and evoke emotions. Let alone derivative works based on well-known advertisement, government propaganda and famous quote from political figures.

Some of the posters play the role of news reporting. It is informative because it can show pedestrians what happened during the Hong Kong protests. Mr. Lau, a 65-year-old man living in Tai Koo, said that he reads the Lennon Wall carefully whenever he walks by because he thinks the informative posters allow him to understand the society in a more contemplative way. As he could only consume the news and information through TV news and radio before, he found that Lennon Wall could connect the community to the society. 

Woman reading a poster on Lennon Wall outside of Tai Koo MTR Station

Back to the basics, the intention of the protestors first setting up the Lennon Wall is all about encouragement. They don’t know each other’s name, identity, but they encourage each other through handwritten notes and posters–spreading a message that ‘they are never alone in this long journey.’ 

The Lennon Wall supporting the movement in Hong Kong has also spread into different cities, such as Chinatown in New York, Sydney, Toronto, Tokyo, London, and Manhattan, projecting the slogan, five demands, not one less. 

Posters hung up on the bridge outside the Luk Yeung Galleria in Tsuen Wan. It says “Liberate Hong kong, The Revolution of our times”

Ever since the anti-extradition law protest in June 2019, Lennon Wall has spread to different communities of Hong Kong. It represents a way of protest in terms of spreading political messages and ideas. But instead of just bringing messages, it evolved into appealing more visually. Gradually, it developed into a mass art and culture of Hong Kong.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: