After receiving threats, both in person and online, people might have understood if Emily Lau backed down and retreated into anonymity.
But not only did the Richmond-based, pro-Hong Kong blogger stand her ground, she picked up her paintbrush and put one of her many talents to canvas.
Channeling her emotions – first shock, then anger – from being targeted, novice artist Lau created in the space of a few hours a stark, yet dramatic, portrait of a protestor in Hong Kong.
In the last few weeks, her painting has been getting a lot of attention in the local arts scene and was one of the many pieces up for auction at a recent Richmond Art Gallery Association fundraiser.
“It took me just three or four hours. But when you have the passion and the anger, you know what you need to paint; it flows from the heart,” said Lau, a single mom, who works full time in administration at a local appliance firm.
“I was at the first Lennon Wall at Broadway station in Vancouver in July. That was the first time I’d witnessed any trouble or threats (from pro-China supporters). I was really upset, because we were just raising our voice for freedom to be able to talk.
“I got a lot of threats for just being there. People recognized me from the blog. It was really scary. I got the threats on Facebook, also. I don’t think they were planning to do anything, they just wanted me to shut up.”
Unfortunately for her abusers, Lau took the threats to heart and created a canvas which is now a talking point in Richmond’s art community.
“People loved it and were asking lots of questions, which is why I went ahead with it,” added self-taught Lau, who only started taking painting seriously a couple of years ago and now has a side business, called Emily Art Gallery.
Asked if she’s still concerned about her work and profile being out there in public, Lau said, “A little. But still feel I need to do it. We are in Canada, after all.
“Everyone should have their right to express themselves.”