I’ve long believed that protests in the streets are an essential tool for meaningful change because the passion, courage, and visceral force of the participants in a mass protest send a powerful message that they are fully committed to their cause! Ed Nachtrieb photographed many incredible moments of the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests in China. I’m honored to collaborate with Ed on a set of two images based on his documentation 30 years ago, especially because pro-democracy and human-rights protesters are still in the streets of Hong Kong!
We’re releasing these two images, “Long Live the People” + “Revolution in our Time” as matching numbered print sets and “Long Live the People” individually on Tuesday, February 11th at 10 AM PDT. The remaining edition of “Revolution in Our Time” will be available on Tuesday, February 18th. Proceeds will go to Hong Kong Free Press, an independent, non-profit, English-language news source, where their mission is to amplify the voices of the voiceless in Greater China. The HKFP team is fully committed to reporting the facts, without fear, favor or interference.
Long Live the People + Revolution in our Time matching numbered set. Silkscreen on cream Speckle Tone Paper. 18 x 24 inches. Signed by Shepard Fairey and Ed Nachtrieb. Numbered edition of 500. A limited number of both editions will be available as a set for $130. Proceeds go to Hong Kong Free Press. Available on Tuesday, February 11th @ 10AM PDT at store.obeygiant.com/collections/prints. The remaining edition of Revolution in Our Time will sell on Tuesday, February 18th. Max order: 1 per customer/household. *Orders are not guaranteed as demand is high and inventory is limited.* Multiple orders will be refunded. International customers are responsible for import fees due upon delivery. ALL SALES FINAL.
Long Live the People. Silkscreen on cream Speckle Tone Paper. 18 x 24 inches. Signed by Shepard Fairey and Ed Nachtrieb. Numbered edition of 500. Individually sold for $70. Proceeds go to Hong Kong Free Press. Available on Tuesday, February 11th @ 10AM PDT at store.obeygiant.com/collections/prints. Max order: 1 per customer/household. *Orders are not guaranteed as demand is high and inventory is limited.* Multiple orders will be refunded. International customers are responsible for import fees due upon delivery. ALL SALES FINAL.
Thirty years ago in Beijing, idealistic students risked everything, including their lives, to make a passionate stand for human freedom in the face of an overbearing state. As they cried out “Long Live the People,” waves of them outstretched their arms and thrust out two fingers to signal “victory.” They were fearless.
I was the Chief Photographer for Reuters News Pictures in China at the time and lived in Beijing. My favorite images of the 1989 protests reflect the participants’ idealism in the face of overwhelming odds and are now elements in these works by Shepard Fairey.
Singing patriotic songs, students locked arms and charged into a series of police phalanxes blocking their entrance to Tiananmen Square (image at the bottom, middle). Once they occupied the square, parades of ordinary citizens took to the streets to wave victory signs (top image) while Communist Party bosses met behind the walled gates of their Zhongnanhai headquarters to plot a response (bottom right).
After the People’s Liberation Army was sent in to suppress what is now called the “pro-democracy movement” on June 4, 1989, there was a liberalization of economic rules and policies. China then experienced a remarkable economic transformation. The idea: if people could get rich, they wouldn’t care so much about their freedoms. I think that’s a miscalculation. In Hong Kong today, ideas championed in 1989 have reappeared in a “Revolution of Our Time” in spite of the campaign to erase such “counter-revolutionary” thoughts from history.
My images used in these prints are from energetic and optimistic moments of the pro-democracy movement. Victory was in the air. Progress seemed inevitable to those with arms outstretched and smiles beaming from their faces. Shepard’s work reflects their hopes and aspirations. The same ones that fortified those protesters in 1989 are now fuel for the passionate idealists on the streets today.
-Edward Nachtrieb, Photographer