An expression for social justice that grows into a social movement, largely with the use of social media: this is what has defined a generation’s efforts to stand up for what they believe is right, it is what has inspired thoughtful and provocative art and literature, and it is what has helped destroy the notion of staying silent, and being ignored when speaking up. If “we” see something, we say something. If “we” feel something, we do something. If those in position of delivering social justice turn a deaf ear, “we occupy.”
#Occupy resonates and is an ode to a generation looking for itself, and eager to “do something.” It is a generation occupied with liking, double tapping ♥, showing up, being seen, obsessing about everything, obsessing about self, a generation occupied with wanting to do something, to mean something.
Among the many exhibits is Panda by Sadhu-X one of two pieces commissioned by Kashish Das Shrestha the curator of “#Occupy: an expression of global conscience” who says this about Panda.
“When the International New York Times published an image by Vincent Yu (Associated Press) of Hong Kong police dragging a protestor away, I spoke with Aditya Aryal (Sadhu-X) on using that image to make a larger point about accountable systems. I also wondered if we could play with the dynamics of Banksy’s iconic protestor with flowers. So I urged Aditya to replace the protestor from Vincent Yu’s photo with something else, as Banksy replaced a Molotov cocktail with flowers. After a day, Aditya proposed a teddy bear. We eventually settled on a Panda.
In early December 2014, as the #OccupyHongKong protest was in its last throes, China extended its ‘Panda Diplomacy’ to Israel, offering to loan its zoo in Haifa two pandas. China has often used pandas as a way to extend its diplomatic relations with the receiving country. However, China’s relationship with the global ecology and wildlife is far from being diplomatic.
In November 2014, China’s top leaders were implicated in a massive illegal haul of ivory using the President’s jet. The news was based on the report ‘Vanishing Point: Criminality, Corruption and the Devastation of Tanzania’s Elephants’ published by Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). In it, China is repeatedly declared the global leader in enabling illegal wildlife trade. In July, EIA also reported on how China’s illegal timber trade is the leading cause for loss of forest in Mozambique. And days after the Panda diplomacy made news, EIA also reported how captive-bred tiger trade in China is posing an “enforcement nightmare” and “stimulates illegal trade.”
Political unaccountability has many serious repercussions for a society, and a global ecological crisis is as serious as any. In this piece, we have tried to express both these issues, while paying homage to an iconic street art.”