Asti Maria — A Stubborn Life

By Bonnie Chiu

The first time I met Asti Maria was in September 2013. We started a photography education programme for 10 Indonesian domestic helpers in collaboration with TCK Learning Centre, and we asked the participants what their favourite colours were.

Asti Maria with a Holga camera. Taken by Sinna Hermanto.

Asti Maria’s answer stood out. She said she loves blue, but then she was wearing monotonous colours. I asked her why. She said, ‘I don’t think I am beautiful. So I don’t like to wear bright colours.’

Her answer stood out because it was the opposite of what I saw. She is beautiful, energetic and curious.

As time goes on, from Asti’s photos we realised that she has been wearing more colours. Maybe the journey of learning photography has made her become more confident?

Asti is 33 years old, and she has been in Hong Kong for 7 years. She is from Malang, East Java. She will return to Indonesia in July, and she would like to start a photography-related business. In Hong Kong, she has been learning entrepreneurship (Mandiri Sahabatku) with Mandiri bank, an Indonesian bank, and she also takes entrepreneurship classes online.

Asti took these two photos, naming them #blueskychallenge. In a place like Hong Kong, blue is hard to find.
Asti chose a darker background to go with this photo that shows a clear blue sky.

When asked to use a word to describe herself, Asti told us — stubborn. She is a stubborn person, because when she wants something in her life, she will reach it. Over the course of 2 years, she has become a great photographer — and we know that she will become a great entrepreneur.

Learn more about her inspirational story from our exhibition, which will be on display tomorrow and Sunday from 11AM to 7PM, at the Espacio Gallery.