Book Review: 傘下速寫 (Sketches Under The Umbrella)

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I bought this book from Alvin Wong while he was here in Singapore last week for the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore. He's one of the sketchers from Hong Kong.

When I first heard of him mentioning the book, I knew I had to get the book.

I've been following the coverage on the Umbrella Movement that happened in 2014 in Hong Kong mostly through Facebook posting of sketches from friends. Now there's this book that compiles all the sketches so of course I had to get it.

The sketches in the book has captured the movement that happened at several locations in Hong Kong over the few months. This book is a work of passion with contributions from Urban Sketchers Hong Kong who spent weeks among the protesters and at sites to capture the scenes they see. It's a raw account of what happened on the streets. There's nothing political about the sketches as the captions that accompanied them are just factual descriptions of what was seen.

The sketches are wonderful. I also recognised many of the buildings as I've just came back from Hong Kong two months ago. I've realised that I've walked past many government buildings without even knowing so. There are also drawings of different tent designs used by the protesters, infographics with labels on what was going on and where, what people are doing on the streets, such as helping one another, cleaning up the place, distributing food, or even studying for exams.

Alvin has told me that the movement, and sketching the movement, has changed the lives of many Hong Kong sketchers who were there to experience it firsthand. I, too, can feel the sense of patriotism in the Hong Kongers and the care for their country's future.

Sketches Under The Umbrella is a powerful collection of sketches that document one of the more peaceful large scale protest in recent times. It's also a fine example of reportage sketching. The text is in English and Chinese.

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