Stories in hand
To see and to be seen
When the participants arrived at the workshop, they looked shy. However, through art, they shared materials, and learnt how to create rangoli. Then the shyness began to dissipate. I was surprised to witness the participants become a community with shared life experiences, connected by experiences during the pandemic, not all of which were gloomy. Indeed, the impact of COVID-19 has not resulted in negative effects only. In some instances it was revealed that the challenges gave people a new sense of community and possibility for connecting people, and even connecting to one’s inner self.
Relieving negative emotions (catharsis) is one of the functions of art creation. I originally imagined that participants would express sadness and neglected feelings only, but what they wrote was hopeful. Using simple words, their artworks tell what the artists care about most: health, family and Hong Kong people. You can find colors representing their feelings through 2020 and 2021.
Mainstream media often casts ethnic minorities as negative groups under the pandemic, presenting their religious gatherings and other cultural practices constituting high risk events, and casting ethnic minorities as high risk groups. I see this research as a chance for us to contemplate and make change.
Most of the participants thank Judy in their writing, and by Judy’s translation, I can read their language and observe Judy’s feelings. Judy has helped lots of people, but she can remember each of their stories. When I saw Judy translating with a smile on her face, I believed she could feel love from the participants.