Katia Huberman es una artista de origen mexicano que actualmente se encuentra como voluntaria en el Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, una región al oeste de Israel, en donde ha logrado una transformación a través de su arte.
La creativa mexicana pinta los refugios (búnkeres) para cambiar el significado que pueden tener y poder verlos de una manera más humana y alegre. El proyecto de la artista que ha dado vida a distintas áreas del lugar, nace de la pintura donde sutilmente combina elementos del espacio con sus propias raíces para darles forma a sus creaciones.
Cada fachada tiende a ser una manera de comunicarse y hacer comunión con el entorno, el cual no pasa desapercibido para los que recorren el kibbutz.
México cruza fronteras, el arte cruza fronteras y cada creación se respira, se vive y se contagia, es por eso que en este Día Internacional de la Mujer en Revista Escenarios te compartimos esta entrevista con Katia Huberman, una joven mexicana que lejos de su tierra sobresale y estrecha lazos entre culturas a través del arte.
When art crosses frontiers
It is about a Mexican artist called Katia Huberman, who nowadays works as a volunteer at Kibbutz Nir Yitzhak, located in the Western part of Israel.
Each one of her creations is a reason to admire that a Mexican girl, far away from her country has achieved to be outstanding. Her art has left a footprint, and has become a form of expression.
How was it that began to paint these murals here in the kibbutz?
I arrived to Israel as a volunteer. I come from Mexico. I began to work in the zoo from the kibbutz. At first, I noticed that the place had the appearance of an abandoned place, so it came to my mind to give life to its walls by painting them, and I asked my boss if I could do it. After some months, he considered it a good idea, so I began to work on this project together with the children of the community to make them take part in the restoration of the zoo. In the beginning, our idea was to paint the animals we had in the zoo, in order to motivate the people from the kibbutz to come and visit the animals, and take care of them. This was how it all began, and the people from the community began to like it a lot.
How many murals have you painted here in the kibbutz?
In the kibbutz, I am beginning my fifth mural.
What kind of paint do you use?
I use acrylic paint (water base), special for exteriors.
Do you use a specific brand?
Yes, we use paint from an Israeli company, called NIRLAT. It has a very good quality.
How do you get it? Does the kibbutz get it for you?
That´s right; I make a request of the colors that I need to paint my murals, and the kibbutz asks for it to the company, and sends them to me.
Were you telling me that the people ask you to paint the murals, but first they have to ask for permission to the kibbutz, and then they tell you to do it?
How much time does this process take?
Well, the kibbutz is a special kind of community. Because it is a socialist community, any decision that is taken has to be approved by the council of the kibbutz. Therefore, if someone wants me to paint a house or an office or any other thing, they have to talk it first with the committee. The people from the committee vote, and if they agree, then they ask for the paint. This can take from few days to two weeks. Lately, I have been painting more, and the people like it a lot, so I have done many projects, which makes me very happy.
What inspires you to do this?
I think that what inspires me more is nature, because I feel a strong connection with it. I like to project life. I love to paint plants in a very colorful way. Also I have a strong influence of my Mexican culture; it´s something I have deep inside. I come from Oaxaca, that´s why I like to use very vivid colors. I think that is a special characteristic of us Mexicans, and I like to bring this to new countries.
Why a kibbutz in Israel?
Well, I come from a Jewish family. My father and grandfather lived for some time in Israel. They talked to me a lot about this country, and since I was eight years old, I had the dream of knowing this place and traveling on my own. When I was 20 years old, after working a lot and saving money, I thought: “The time has come”.
How much time have you been in the kibbutz?
I have been here for almost ten months.
From those ten months, how much time have you been painting the murals?
I began to paint after three months of being in the kibbutz. In the beginning, I was in charge of the zoo, but now my job consists in painting all day long.
When they ask you to paint a mural, how is the process? Do you do it first on paper and then you take it to the mural?
Well, when someone ask me to paint, I ask him what idea has in mind; how does he visualizes the mural. Then, I tell him my ideas. First, I make a design on paper to have a general idea of what I have to do, but I don’t stick to it, because I prefer to be spontaneous. In the moment I am painting, new ideas come to my mind. Only if they ask me for an specific design, I stick to it.
Apart from this, do you have a shop online, where you sell cups, and what more?
Yes, before coming here, I created a shop online where I sold cups, vases, and ceramic dishes that I paint by hand. Each one of them has a unique design. Now I am also doing illustrations on paper (watercolor and acrylic paint), but in this moment, I am focusing more in painting murals.
How much time have you been painting? (Not only murals, but in general)
The truth is that since I was a child, I loved to draw. I always took colors and painted wherever I found an available place. Little by little, I improved my skill; I never went to drawing school or something like that. It’s just like a natural passion I have inside of me, and with practice I have learned more. Like the saying says: “Practice makes perfect”.
Did you begin with the items you do for your shop online, or did you begin with other things?
When I began to paint more seriously, it was because I needed a job, and a friend of mine told me he knew I could paint. He told me he had an uncle who had a shop and needed someone to paint some wooden boxes. I accepted it even though I had never painted in a professional way. People began to like my designs, and they suggested me to create my own things and sell them. That was how I began to paint cups and vases, and when I realized that people liked them very much, I created my shop online. It all came out very spontaneously.
Do you have a future project related to painting?
Yes, now I know that this is my passion, and I want to dedicate to it. My biggest dream is to be able to decorate walls all over the world. I have two passions in my life: one is traveling, and the other one is my art, so my goal is to be able to combine them.
Where can people follow you?
Well, I have Facebook and Instagram. People can find me as Katia Huberman Art. All the time I post pictures of my new projects, and of my projects in process. There´s where people can find me if they want me to collaborate in something.
Can they get in touch with you through messenger?
Yes, they can find me there, in Facebook, Instagram, or by mail.
If someone made you a request, how would you send it? By delivery?
Are you planning an exposition?
Yes, I guess I would like to plan an exposition with a specific topic, but that would be later.
And what´s the idea of painting the shelters?
That is another reason why I began to paint in the kibbutz. In this kibbutz we have shelters all over the place, because we are close to Gaza, about 5 or 6 km from there. I come from a country where there is no war, and I got very impressed to see the shelters that are just cubes without any color. It occurred to me to make them better by the use of art. In that way, I could change the way that people see them, and what they mean, cause shelters are sad places that people use to protect themselves from bombs during the war. Therefore, I wanted to give them a nice appearance, so people could look at them with joy, and forget about war and violence, and all the negative things that a shelter can symbolize.