Drawings by SCMP’s Adolfo Arranz during the first month of the Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong

Adolfo’s Umbrellas

Published on November 12, 2014
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Students gathered in Causeway Bay, the morning after tear gas was fired on protesters, September 29, 2014 Ink marker, digitally coloured
September 28, 2014, 3pm. It was a few hours before tear gas was fired on the crowds, unleashing what would be known around the world as the Umbrella Movement. I was in the lobby of Admiralty Centre and captured this gathering of protesters who would soon decide whether or not to take over the highway separating them from the Central Government Complex at Tamar, across the street. Brush ink
That afternoon, not only the crowds but also members of the police force seemed calm and poised, despite what would happen mere hours later. Ink marker (left) and brush ink
When I drew this sketch, I was standing in the middle of the crowds that had just poured onto the highway. People helped each other across the concrete barriers. It was maybe 5pm. Within the hour, the first canisters of tear gas were fired. I left just before this happened, sensing that the police were going to act soon. Ink marker
In the late hours of September 28, the occupation movement spread to other districts of Hong Kong. On the left was a drawing made the next morning in the commercial neighbourhood of Causeway Bay, where protesters had just started a sit-in on its main thoroughfare. On the right, was a drawing that I made a few days later as the protest started to settle in, with tents now being erected. Ink marker (left) and brush, digitally coloured
October 2, 2014. During the first week of the Umbrella Movement, citizens took turns on megaphones to voice their views. On the right is a drawing that I made standing from the footbridge between Admiralty Centre and Tamar, looking west towards Central. It was the fifth evening, a Thursday, when crowds congregated to await Chief Executive CY Leung's response to a call from students to resign. Ink marker
The barricades in Mong Kok on Nathan Road, at the corner of Shantung Street, October 12, 2014. Ink marker
I witnessed a bizarre scene at the barricades at Tamar where an old man started loudly berating the police with anti-Beijing insults. The policeman on the right just turned the other way to avoid what the senior protester had to say to them that day. Ink marker
In the beginning, students at the Admiralty site did their homework any way they could find Ink marker (top left) and ink brush
Volunteers at the Admiralty site helped build desks for students. Ink marker
Students at the study area in Admiralty, October 18, 2014 Ink marker and watercolour
Students at the study area in Admiralty, October 19, 2014 Ink marker
(It's easier to sketch when your subjects are not moving!) Ink marker
The Eastern barricade at the Admiralty site, October 19, 2014. The ideograms "磊落" on the signs mean "upright", a term that the police chief repeated to describe the police force in the days before footage was released showing a protester allegedly being beaten by police officers. Ink marker
A supply station at the interesection of Tamar Street and Harcourt Road, Admiralty, October 10, 2014. What was normally the side of a busy highway is now completely devoid of motorised traffic for a few hundred metres around. It was eerily quiet, reminding me of my home in the Spanish countryside. Ink marker
A charging station at Admiralty MTR, October 11, 2014. Staying powered up is serious business for protesters. Serial numbers are marked in a register and users of the service are given tickets they use to reclaim their mobile devices. Ink marker
A young man is teaching people how to fold origami umbrellas outside the Central Government Offices, October 11, 2014. Brush ink
On the highway now closed to traffic outside Tamar, passerbys are writing messages in chalk, October 18, 2014 Ink marker
Illustrator Tiffanycheetah draws portraits for free (left), October 18, 2014, while young activists paint signs at the entrance to the MTR in Admiralty, October 2. Ink marker
Tents between the Legislative Council Complex and Citic Tower at the barricade on Lung Wui Road, October 25, 2014 Ink marker


Art and text: Adolfo Arranz
Online production: Cedric Sam