Carolina Kollmann, an Argentine painter now living in Hong Kong, is trying to express humanity in her artworks by depicting what she has seen in the city, including domestic workers who hang out in the city’s public areas on Sundays.
“Domestic helpers are very interesting people,” Kollmann told Asia Times in an interview. They have different talents and their own stories, she said.
“It’s amazing for them to all go on the streets on Sundays as they don’t have anywhere else to go,” she said.
Many foreign domestic workers have made big sacrifices by leaving their home countries to work in Hong Kong as they want to provide their families with better lives, she said.
Kollmann painted a series of pictures titled Sundays HK after being touched by the scene of many Filipino domestic workers sharing their food with friends in Hong Kong’s Central district on their days off.
She displayed the pictures in an art exhibition and even hung one of them on the wall of her dining room. She said it was relaxing to have her meals next to the picture.
Kollmann, born in Buenos Aires, studied at the National University of the Arts in Argentina and later won a scholarship to study abroad at the Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. Before moving to Hong Kong with her husband and son in 2009, she resided in Singapore for five years.
She said that when she was young, her parents opposed the idea of letting her study art, as they were afraid that the military government then ruling Argentina would suppress art students, fearing they might be anarchists. Fortunately, she was finally able to study art thanks to her grandmother’s persuasion.
“I am not interested in politics, but aesthetics,” she said, adding that what she wants is an environment with freedom for her to create artworks.
Kollmann has also produced a painting titled DB Lady, portraying an 80-year-old woman who picks up garbage and paper boxes on the streets in Discovery Bay every morning.
“The old woman never asks for money or seeks help from others and always keeps smiling,” she said.
She added that she was fascinated by scenes of lower-income groups in Hong Kong.
Currently, Kollmann holds painting classes for adults at her workshop in Discovery Bay and young students at Discovery Bay International School. She is now trying to use a 3D printer to reproduce her sketches of different Asian faces.
More artworks here: www.carolinakollmannart.com