Origami tells the story of 1921 Poplar rates revolt

Performers using origami to "connect community in Poplar to its history of resistance” with origami

Performers Pui-Yung Shum, Ghost Chan and John Chan use origami to 'connect community in Poplar to its history of resistance' - Credit: Hidden Keileon

Performance artists from Hong Kong are staging an origami show of “a thousand papers” in Poplar in the centenary year of the East End’s historic 1921 rates rebellion. 

The ShumGhostJohn trio will present a week-long “installation performance” in Oriental-style folktales and traditions when they open at the Poplar Union on April 28. 

The performers, Pui-Yung Shum, Ghost Chan and John Chan, want to “connect the community in Poplar to its history of resistance” and expand its legacy. 

They were inspired by the rebellion led by George Lansbury, then mayor of Poplar, who refused to enforce a London County Council levy on the poor - a poll tax in its day, at the same rate as wealthy areas like Kensington and Westminster.

Rebel Poplar councillors were jailed, but it eventually led to an equalisation system where levies on wealthy areas were used for rate relief on deprived districts like Poplar. 

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The Hong Kong trio have “taken up the struggle” a century later with their art activism of origami folding papers that will be tied up and hovered in the air “holding memories and hopes of the Poplar community”. 

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