China

In pictures: Hong Kong protest art

In the midst of Hong Kong's political and civil strife, something extraordinary has taken root. The humble umbrella, used to fend off the pepper spray and tear gas and now the defining symbol of these pro-democracy protests has become the inspiration for a creative outpouring on an industrial scale, as the BBC's John Sudworth illustrates in this gallery.

Traffic-free spaces have become open-air art galleries. The initials "CY" on this umbrella refer to Chief Executive CY Leung, a hate figure for the protesters who think he has sold Hong Kong short.

This "Umbrella Man" statue is reminiscent of the Goddess of Democracy that stood in Beijing's Tiananmen Square during the protests there in 1989, before the bloody crackdown. The Hong Kong statue is 12ft (3.6m) high and made from wooden blocks.

"Umbrella Patchwork" is a tapestry created from more than 100 discarded umbrella awnings. It took three days to sew them all together and the work is now suspended between two elevated walkways, giving shelter to the protesters sitting underneath (bits of sky can be seen through the holes).

This time, the umbrella shape is made out of water bottles arranged on what would normally be an eight-lane highway full of traffic.

How about a bit of origami art? This "umbrella bush" is made out of hundreds of folded paper umbrellas, another interactive installation that anyone can be part of. And a shady place to sit and read a newspaper.

Here's a bit of art attached to the road signs themselves. The slogans read: "I want universal suffrage" at the top and "Hong Kong people support Hong Kong people" at the bottom.

Connaught Road Central is one of Hong Kong's busiest and most important traffic routes. The barricades have effectively cut it off.

Some of the art is overtly political in nature. This poster lampoons government figures, giving some of the territory's leaders and top civil servants Hitler moustaches and urging them to resign.

This political image is a reference to video footage apparently showing a group of policemen beating one of the protesters. The character in the foreground, taken from ancient Chinese literature, is saying: "Oh, so this is what being open and candid means!"

The early use of tear gas by the police, rather than quelling the protests, gave them new life and galvanised support. Tear gas has been used occasionally since, but in the main, there has been very little violence.

It's getting hard to tell what is art and what isn't. Is this a mode of transport with a slogan attached, or a piece of artwork that you can ride?

As well as the conceptual, the abstract and the overtly political there is plenty of fine art too. This painting is by Queenie Chan, who has been using ink and watercolour to capture and document the protests. She says for her the protests are "a really, really special and beautiful moment for Hong Kong people".

The art movement seems to have its own infectious power, encouraging anyone to have a go. The walls of buildings around Harcourt Road are full of sketches, paintings, cartoons and banners.