Special exhibition

"Be Water!" The Strategy of Resistance in the Hong Kong Protests (Postponed until 6 April 2020)

13 March 2020 to  13 June 2020
World Press Photo House, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

2019 was a year of protest across the world, with people using their power to challenge governments.

Prominent amongst these struggles were the demonstrations in Hong Kong. Most reports from Hong Kong have focused on the immediacy of the political demonstrations, police enforcement and violence. In contrast, taking its title from the Bruce Lee philosophy that inspires many of the Hong Kong protestors, this new exhibition at the World Press Photo House shows work by photographers and artists who take the strategy and tactics of the demonstrators as their starting point and thereby give the visitor insight into what is going on under the surface of the daily news stream.

In March 2019 the government of Hong Kong proposed a bill that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China. Many Hongkongers saw this as another step in China’s erosion of the freedoms guaranteed by Hong Kong’s status as a special administrative region, which created the political structure of “one country, two systems” for fifty years following Britain’s handover in 1997. After three months of struggle, both on the streets and in Hong Kong’s legislature, more than one million people marched peacefully in Hong Kong on 16 June 2019. The Hong Kong police responded with force, helping to fuel the protests for many months.

The protest movement in Hong Kong has evolved into a much wider call for change in the city. It is also an example for the rest of the world of how new analog and digital technologies animate the struggle against authority, replacing the intention to occupy a location with the desire to flow through a space.

Participating photographers and videographer


Graphic design studio


Event location

World Press Photo House
Haarlemmerweg 4
1014 BE Amsterdam, the Netherlands

World Press Photo House closed to the public until 6 April 2020

Following the new measures to manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus in the Netherlands as announced by the Dutch government on 12 March 2020, the World Press Photo Foundation has closed the World Press Photo House in Amsterdam to the public until 6 April and cancelled all public activities. This involves the PhotoQ bookstore, the exhibition "Be Water!" The Strategy of Resistance in the Hong Kong Protests, and all events.

World Press Photo will actively track the recommendations of the health authorities on a daily basis to implement the relevant actions. Any significant changes or extension to the current measures will be communicated as soon as possible.

We appreciate your understanding and hope to welcome you at the World Press Photo House in the future.


Free entrance

Related program of screenings

During the exhibition, our neighbouring cinema Het Ketelhuis, will have a special selection of Hong Kong documentaries related to the subject:

  • 21 April, 19.00 - Lost in the Fumes (Nora Lam, Hong Kong, 2018)
  • 18 May, 19.00 - We Have Boots (Evans Chan, Hong Kong, 2020)

Image credit: Ivan Abreu