By Janice Abbott
British citizen Janice Abbott, who came to Hong Kong last December to visit her 10-month-old grandson, shares with HKFP some paintings she created during her two-week compulsory Covid-19 quarantine in a hotel.
The 66-year-old said she used watercolours, pencil, pastel-type crayon, charcoal, ink, and pen to create her views of Hong Kong Island – and a limited view of Kowloon – from her hotel room on Aberdeen Street in Central. She utilised newspapers, both English and Chinese, for collages.
Abbott later incorporated everyday objects into her work, including staining from teabags and blueberries and toilet paper to give texture to her paintings. The brown paper bags for food delivery, which Abbott described as “symbolic” of her time in quarantine, also became a canvas for her to express her creativity.
Abbott devoted one day to creating rubbings, using crayon, pastel-type sticks, charcoal and graphite and rubbing them onto newspaper, hotel notepaper, toilet paper and anything else she could find.
“I think that I was probably the only guest in the hotel who was really grateful for the shredded paper at the bottom of our Christmas goody bag. I used this mainly for weaving and representing the surrounding buildings,” she told HKFP.
The UK visitor also passed the time preparing food, making self-portraits, reading and practising yoga and other forms of meditation. She said she quite enjoyed the quarantine period as there were “no distractions,” allowing her to focus on her hobbies. Her only contact was a man who waved from a nearby window.
“I saw no-one for the whole time… I would wave a red shirt out of the window and he would wave up to me on floor 27,” Abbott recalled.
Abbott said she shared her work with a quarantine support group on Facebook and was grateful for the positive feedback she received.
But she was grateful only to be isolated for 14 days. She arrived in Hong Kong before the government on December 21 extended the quarantine period for UK visitors to 21 days amid concern over a new coronavirus variant that has spread rapidly in the country. The city also halted flights from the UK in response.
Hong Kong has recorded over 10,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19.