At Large  June 4, 2019  Chandra Noyes

Inflatable ‘Tank Man’ Commemorates Tiananmen Square 30th Anniversary

flickr/xiquinhosilva

Tiananmen Square

On the 30th anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests, one artist is making sure the atrocities of that incident are not forgotten. Taiwanese artist Shake has recreated the most iconic image of those historic days through inflatable sculptures. The photograph of ‘Tank Man’ shows a still unnamed protester blocking the path of a column of 29 oncoming tanks. Shot by Associated Press photograph Jeff Widener, the image has become a symbol of peaceful protest seen around the world.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Anfernee (@jun_sty1e) on

Shake’s version stands outside of Taipei's Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall, one of the city’s most popular tourist destinations. In mainland China, images and discussion of the Tiananmen Square protests are still heavily censored. But in Taiwan, which has been independent since 1950, honoring those who lost their lives in the protest is valued.

The Tiananmen Square Massacre remains one of the most shocking instances of violence on China’s poor human rights record. In 1989 thousands of people took to the streets for student-lead pro-democracy protests. In response, the Chinese government declared martial law, and on June 4, cleared protesters from the crowded Tiananmen Square with gunfire. It is still unknown how many people were killed, but estimates range from several hundred into the thousands.

Through her commemorative work, Shake hopes to remind people of the dangers of the Chinese regime and to inspire hope for democracy. "As a Taiwanese I hope I can help China to also achieve democracy one day," she told Reuters news agency.

About the Author

Chandra Noyes

Chandra Noyes is Managing Editor for Art & Object.

Subscribe to our free e-letter!

Webform

Latest News

The Surprising History of the Smiley Face
For a design so simple, the history of the smiley face is surprisingly long and…
Artists Honor George Floyd
As protests surrounding the death of George Floyd have erupted across the US…
2 Minute Movies Bridges Music and Filmmaking
A new collaboration between Maroon 5’s Jesse Carmichael and artist Paul Davies…
Christo, Famed Installation Artist, Dead at 84
Christo Vladimirov Javacheff, known as Christo, worked for decades with his…
10 African American Artists You Should Know More About

African American artists have contributed to this nation’s cultural landscape throughout its history. We are highlighting ten African American artists you should know more about.