Ricker Choi (b. 1975)

Erasing June Fourth

Acrylic on canvas

24 x 30 in.
Executed in 2022

Hong Kong had for 32 years been the world’s largest commemoration annually of 1989 June 4th Tiananmen Square Massacre, until 2021 when the annual massive vigil held at Victoria Park is deemed illegal and its organiser arrested.  Then, Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Massacre Museum was raided and 4 members who ran it were arrested in Sept 2021.

Pillar of Shame (國殤之柱) by Danish artist Jens Galschiøt stood in City University of Hong Kong (CUHK) from 1998 for 23 years, until it was removed in December 2021 by Hong Kong authorities without the artist’s approval.  The sculpture depicts torn and twisted bodies symbolizing those murdered by the Chinese Communist Party during the crackdown of Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 June 4th.  The sculpture’s removal from CUHK is another attempt by CCP to snuff out Hong Kong’s commemoration of the massacre.

In this painting, artist Ricker Choi has placed the Pillar of Shame right at Tiananmen Square.  The flood is sweeping away the tortured souls, a yellow umbrella (symbol of the Umbrella Movement in 2014) and Hong Kong’s 2019 protest flag.  Hope for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement is being washed away, along with memories of the massacre.

Flags and tents without words symbolize memories erased.  CCP has successfully suppressed any mentioning of the massacre in mainland, resulting in new generations not even have heard of the event.

Mao’s portrait is ironically covered in the painting, because CCP covers up the horrendous atrocities committed by Mao during Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution.