Artist ‘Remembers’ Tiananmen Square Massacre with Tank Mural on Allen Street

Posted on: June 5th, 2019 at 5:07 am by

Photo: Adrian Wilson

Yesterday marked the thirtieth anniversary of the Tiananmen Square Massacre in Beijing, China. The events of that day are now commemorated with a moving tribute mural on Allen Street.

Artist Adrian Wilson spent two days overwriting his “Where Goes the Neighborhood” with an interpretation of the iconic tank Man image snapped (and smuggled out) by photographer Jeff Widener.

“One of the most iconic images of the 20th Century is of the man who stood, shopping bags in hand, in front of 3 Chinese tanks on June 5,” Wilson said in an email. “I picked this location because all the downtown tourist buses stop right next to it and all those Chinese tourists, some of whom have no idea it even happened, will see that all over the world, those protesters who gave their life for a better life will never be forgotten.”

Thirty years ago, between April and June of 1989, more than one million protesters (mostly students) occupied China’s Tiananmen Square to rally against Chinese oppression, corruption, and lack of democracy.

June 4, 1989 – colloquially known as Six four or the June Fourth Incident – remains one of the darkest days in the history of mankind. And still one of the most widely censored topics in China.

A month earlier, during and because of the student demonstrations, the Chinese People’s Liberation Army enacted military law. By June, the number of protesters swelled to over a million. There were hunger strikes, sit-ins, stand-ins, picket lines, and chanting. All peaceful.

On June 4, the PLA sent in the battle tanks and the troops opened fire. Thousands were shot dead because they advocated democracy. The death toll varies and is estimated from 2,600 to, some say, 10,000 if counting those who later succumbed to their injuries.

“Although I probably will be banned from China for creating this mural, I am proud to stand up and be counted as the person who did it, though out of respect, it will remain unsigned,” Wilson said.

Go check out the mural at 188 Allen Street.

A powerful tribute that is sure to evoke much emotion from those who remember and those who lived it. And perhaps, even more from those who didn’t even know about it.

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