Pillar of Shame sculpture Hong
Public Art : Pillar of Shame
Sculptor: © Jens Galschiot
Description: This controversial 2 tonne concrete
sculpture features 50 twisted bodies that form the pillar. The sculpture was created by Danish sculptor-activist
Jens Galschiot to mark the 8th anniversary of the 4th of June Tiananmen Square protests (1989). The torn and
twisted bodies of the sculpture symbolize the degradation, devaluation and lack of respect for the individual. The
black colour symbolizes grief and loss and the sculpture, which represents the victims, expresses the pain and the
despair of the event. In 2008 the sculpture was symbolically painted orange to raise awareness about human rights
in China. Yes, it's still orange. On the base of the statue, is the history and pictures of the massacre and
also includes the words "The Tiananmen Massacre", "June 4th 1989" and "The old cannot kill the young forever." in
both English and Chinese.
Date Unveiled: The Pillar of Shame sculpture was
originally erected in Victoria Park on the 3rd of June, 1997 to mark the 8th anniversary of the Tiananmen
Location: The Pillar of Shame sculpture was
originally erected in Victoria Park but following the candlight vigil some students, at 3am, somehow managed
to move the 2 tonne sculpture into the podium of the Haking Wong building at the University of Hong Kong
(HKU). The sculpture was later displayed at various local universities before being returned to HKU. In 1998
the student's union held a poll in which the students voted for the statue to remain at the university on a long
term basis.Today it stands at the Haking Wong Podium.
Artist's Statement : It reminds people of a shameful
event which must never happen again.
PILLAR OF SHAME
A Memorial for Tiananmen
This original sculpture has been mounted to perpetuate the memory of the massacre that took place in
Beijing on 4th of June 1989. The Tiananmen movement that was so violently suppressed was fighting for
the basic human right of freedom of expression and for the right to participate in the decision making
processes affecting the future of its own country.
Things You May Not Know About The Pillar Of Shame
This is the list of Universities who have had the Pillar of Shame on display ...
Chinese University of Hong Kong from 28 September 1997,
Lingnan College from 2 November 1997 ,
Hong Kong Baptist University from 29 November 1997,
Hong Kong University of Science and Technology from 23 January 1998,
Hong Kong Polytechnic University from 1 March 1998, and the
City University of Hong Kong from 29 March 1998.
On 31st of May 1998, the ninth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, the sculpture was
returned to Victoria Park where a candlelit vigil was held. On the morning before the vigil, a self-professed
artist splashed two buckets of red paint onto the Pillar, claiming that "the blood of people is also my blood."
There is a silent tribute held by HKUSU and The Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic
Democratic Movements in China in May every year.
On 30 April 2008, the Pillar of Shame was painted orange as part of the project The Color Orange to
raise awareness about human rights in China. The sculptor who intended to participate in the painting of his
sculpture was denied entry to Hong Kong during this time for fears he would disturb the 2008 Beijing Olympics torch
relay event. Subsequently he missed out.
There are three other Pillars of Shame.
One is located at the Ostiense Air Terminal, Rome, Italy, and was erected in 1996, during the FAO
Summit, and depicts the deaths caused worldwide by hunger due to the uneven distribution of the world's
The second is in Acteal, Chiapas, Mexico. It was erected in 1999, to mark the site of the December
1997 massacre of 45 members of the civil society group Las Abejas in Acteal.
And the third one is in Brasilia, Brazil. it was erected in 2000 in homage to the victims of the Eldorado dos
Carajás massacre which occurred in 1996. This was later moved to Belém, the capital of Pará, the federal state
where the massacre occurred.