Censored Memories: 35 years since Tiananmen



In recalling the events and protests of 1989 and the pro-democracy movements in China through memorabilia and artworks, Censored Memories aims to keep the memories alive. In reminding ourselves of these pivotal moments of history, we affirm our commitment to safeguarding the right to remember and to resisting the forces that seek to obliterate them.

"Censored Memories" Exhibition

The event will include an exhibition on censored memories featuring items and memorabilia from the 1989 student protests on display from the archives of Fengsuo Zhou and Humanitarian China, alongside contemporary artworks by Badiucao, Jens Galschiøt, Lumli Lumlong, Mei Yuk Wong and vawongsir. The exhibition will run until 12 June and is curated by Euchar Gravina, artistic director at St John’s Waterloo.

Book your free place here



The artists

巴丢草 Badiucao is a popular and prolific political artist from China who uses his art to challenge the censorship and dictatorship in China, especially through his social media channels. His work was used by Amnesty International, Freedom House, BBC, CNN and China Digital Times and exhibited in Europe, Australia, and America. Badiucao believes history is constantly being unified and tampered with, and even forgotten, when free speech and democracy are absent. He believes art and internet has the power to deconstruct the arrogance and authority of dictatorship as building block of individual awakening and free independence. Over the years, Badiucao has been subject to multiple efforts to discredit him and censor his work. In 2021, the Chinese Embassy in Italy warned that if an exhibition in which his work was being shown went ahead it would “endanger” Italy and China’s good relations and posters for the exhibition were vandalised. @badiucao

Jens Galschiøt is an award-winning and internationally significant Danish artist and sculptor who is well-known for his iconic Pillar of Shame, a series of 8m tall bronze, copper and concrete sculptures created to commemorate the loss of life and serve as a warning against shameful events in history which must never recur. In Hong Kong, the Pillar of Shame was erected in 1997 to commemorate the Tiananmen Square massacre but in 2021, after a formal request from the University of Hong Kong for it to be removed, it disappeared overnight. Galschiøt actively promotes and supports free artistic expression, and is the founder of Art in Defence of Humanitarianism (Aidoh). He has recently started making miniature 3D-printed versions of the Pillar of Shame, one of which will be on display at Censored Memories.



淋漓淋浪  Lumli Lumlong are a husband and wife painting duo, whose artwork focuses on social issues, particularly human rights and authoritarianism. They left Hong Kong for the UK in the summer of 2021 after they were accused by the press of promoting Hong Kong independence. Their book, “Liberation of Art”, has been banned in Hong Kong. Even while in Europe, they have been subject to efforts to intimidate them and interfere with their work. They will display their artwork in the exhibition.  @lumlilumlong_


Vawongsir is a cartoonist and former secondary school visual arts teacher in Hong Kong. He created cartoons reflecting the 2019 protests that were widely shared by the Hong Kong community at home and abroad. In 2020, he faced disciplinary action over a series of political cartoons deemed “inappropriate” by the Education Bureau in Hong Kong. He continues to make and share art about Hong Kong in exile. His artwork will be displayed in the exhibition.


Mei Yuk Wong is a UK-based multi-disciplinary artist, originally from Hong Kong. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and explores different ideas and concepts, from personal stories to gender equality and global issues. Art and activism are intertwined in her practice. She has worked with diverse communities and significant cultural organizations. This year, she received a Community Champion Award from Groundswell Project and was nominated as a New Earth Academy Champion. Website: https://meiyukwong.co.uk. Instagram: @meiyukwong4286


Event launch

The exhibition will launch on 29 May with an evening of music and discussion.

Book your free place here


Event partners


Fengsuo Zhou is executive director of Human Rights in China and President of Humanitarian China. Humanitarian China has generously donated funds to support this exhibition as well as items and artefacts from the 1989 protests.
h-china.org and hrichina.org

Index on Censorship
Index on Censorship is a UK-based nonprofit that campaigns for and defends freedom of expression worldwide. We work with censored writers and artists, promote debate, and monitor threats to free speech. Index’s aim is to raise awareness about threats to free expression and the value of free speech as the first step to tackling censorship.

Hong Kong Watch
Founded in 2017, Hong Kong Watch is a UK-registered charity consisting of Hong Kongers and friends of Hong Kong, working closely with Hong Kong community groups worldwide. We educate legislators, policy-makers, media, and the wider public about the violations of human rights and the rule of law in Hong Kong, and advocate for actions to assist Hong Kongers. We do this through a combination of in-depth research reports, topical briefings, opinion editorials, media interviews, and advocacy campaigns.

St John’s Waterloo
St John’s Waterloo is a historic Grade II* church that reopened in October 2022 after a major restoration by Eric Parry Architects. It provides the best new performance, event and meeting spaces on the South Bank, and is home to one of the most inclusive church communities in London. St John’s produces a year-round programme of arts and culture, including the annual Waterloo Festival, and is co-home to the academy-orchestra Southbank Sinfonia and Waterloo Community Theatre. It also runs the award-winning churchyard garden and a variety of community projects.


Event speakers and performers

Ma Jian

Ma Jian is an award-winning author who is widely regarded as one of China’s most important writers. His writing is banned in China, and his works include Stick Out Your Tongue (1987), best-selling memoir Red Dust (2000), The Noodle Maker (2003), Beijing Coma (2008) and China Dream (2018). He took part in the 1989 democracy protests and is a vocal about freedom of speech and artistic expression in China. 

Rahima Mahmut

Rahima Mahmut is UK director of the World Uyghur Congress and the lead vocalist of the London Silk Road Collective. Despite having lived in the UK since 2000, Rahima continues to be subject to efforts to silence her and discredit her work in defence of human rights. She will speak about her experience and perform with her band.


Yinfi (因非), a London-based music producer, vocalist, and screen music composer from China, has been creating music advocating for civil liberties suppressed by authorities in Hong Kong and Beijing after he came to the UK to study in 2018. His advocacy has resulted in ostracism within the screen music industry, both in China and internationally, and triggered various forms of transnational repression by Chinese authorities, convincing him that returning to his homeland would jeopardise his safety. Despite these intimidations, Yinfi remains steadfast in his belief that singing songs for human rights louder is the best way to counter the fear imposed by Chinese authorities and protect artistic freedom.

Exhibition opening times

Wednesday 29 May to Wednesday 12 June*

*The gallery will be open on the specific dates and times below. Kindly consult St John's Waterloo's website when planning your visit in case of last minute changes to the schedule due to building operations.

29 May, 7pm - 9:30pm (as part of 'Censored Memories' event)

30 May, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

31 May, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm) 

3 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

4 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

5 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

6 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

7 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

10 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

11 June, 9:15am - 5pm (last admission at 4:30pm)

12 June, 9:15am - 4pm (last admission at 3:30pm)

You do not need a ticket to attend the exhibition except for the opening night event. Free tickets for the opening night are available here.