Domestic helpers cook, clean, and do the chores in homes across Hong Kong. By night, however, they only get short glimpses of the city, often through kitchen windows, while dreaming and longing for their hometowns. In her work for “55 Squared”, the artist Winsome Wong delicately weaves domestic helpers’ images of Hong Kong and of their hometowns to shed light on their perception of “home” and thus paying tribute to their resilience.
Born to a Chinese father and a Filipina mother who used to work as a domestic worker, the artist Winsome Wong collaborated with four domestic helpers working near Tai Kwun. The artist combined their cell phone shots and video images into a dreamy photo collage, through snapshots from their employers’ homes—places where they do not feel they truly belong—as well as from their homes far away in the Philippines. By way of various low-res photos and videos from friends and family, fragments of life are shared: a daughter trying on a princess dress and fairy wand originally sent from Hong Kong, a sunflower garden where she used to visit with her daughter, a mother proudly showing their home newly built with the money earned in Hong Kong. The various images are framed through windows, screens, lenses, which serve as portals between the inside and the outside worlds, the quasi-home here and the beloved home faraway, thus foregrounding and reflecting on the shifting gaze and perspectives of migrant workers.
Their Temporary Night Views and On-Screen Homelands by Winsome Wong is the sixth commissioned work for Tai Kwun’s “55 Squared” and is curated by Jill Angel Chun and Louiza Ho.