Art has played a role in the Umbrella Movement since day one, from public art installations like Stand By You: ‘Add Oil’ Machine to a Facebook competition to design the movement’s logo. Less well-known are two urban sketching groups which, armed with pen and paper, have been doing their best to document the protests.
Both Urban Sketchers Hong Kong (USHK) and Sketcher-Kee were formed in 2013 with the goal of preserving in ink the city’s ever-evolving urban environment. Today its members are camped out in the Causeway Bay, Admiralty, and Mong Kok areas of Hong Kong, posting expressive drawings of that same landscape over-run by umbrellas, yellow ribbons, and students demanding political freedom. Their work is risky; a recent post by USHK co-founder Alvin Wong on the group’s Facebook page advised members to “get a sketch buddy” and to sit near a wall so “no one can surprise you from behind.”