Late push to keep 'Pillar' intact

Local | Erin Chan 15 Oct 2021

The Pillar of Shame statue was still standing at the University of Hong Kong yesterday after the deadline for its removal by June 4 vigil organizers elapsed at 5pm Wednesday.

That came after around 40 people, including journalists, paid their last visit to the seven-meter statue at the university around the deadline.

In a statement on Tuesday, the artist behind the statue, Danish sculptor Jens Galschiot, said he feared that the university might destroy his statue.

"If the Pillar of Shame is crushed now, I would urge everyone who goes out to Hong Kong University to collect as many pieces of the Pillar of Shame as possible," he said.

"These pieces may be used to make some symbolic manifestation that 'empires pass away but art persists.'"

But Galschiot still hoped that the statue could be preserved in one piece by moving it out of Hong Kong in time.

"I would like to emphasize that I consider any damage to the sculpture to be the responsibility of the university," he added.

He said he had hired a lawyer in Hong Kong to follow up with the university. Galschiot had also contacted Danish politicians who agreed to get in touch with the Chinese embassy.

"It is almost all the parties from left to right that are behind these inquiries to the Danish Foreign Minister to intervene," he said.

Galschiot said he was encouraged by the overwhelming media attention the statue had received, addding that the statue might be exhibited in Rome this autumn.

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