Domestic helper turned photographer returns to Hong Kong with exhibition on ‘invisible’ migrant workers
- Xyza Cruz Bacani rose to fame because of the photos she took on her Sundays off in Hong Kong
- The Filipino’s exhibition is an attempt to reclaim the story of the migrant worker
Xyza Cruz Bacani will soon return to Hong Kong, where she worked as a domestic helper for years, to launch a solo photographic exhibition and a photo book commissioned by the WYNG Foundation, a private charity that promotes the discussion of social issues in the city.
Bacani, 31, first shot to fame when she became a recipient of the 2015 Human Rights Fellowship by the Magnum Foundation because of the photos she took on her Sundays off in Hong Kong.
Since then, she has been developing her career as a professional documentary photographer, focusing on the plight of foreign domestic workers in Asia and beyond. She is currently working on a series about education in her home country, the Philippines.
The upcoming exhibition in Hong Kong is based on a series she created as part of the WMA Commission in 2016-17. The series is an attempt to reclaim the story of the migrant worker by someone who is a second-generation domestic worker in Hong Kong.
The title of the exhibition and the book, We Are Like A ir, refers to the fact that migrant workers are invisible but vital to the cities they work in, often under appalling circumstances and at the cost of their own families back home.
The exhibition at the Hong Kong Arts Centre will have tours in Cantonese, English, Tagalog and Indonesian Bahasa. On Sunday December 2, an art group formed by domestic workers in Hong Kong called Guhit Kulay will host an art jam session at the centre from 2pm to 5pm. On Sunday December 9, Bacani will be signing books from 11:30am in the heartland of the Filipino diaspora in Hong Kong – the newspaper stand in front of Worldwide House in Central.
Xyza Cruz Bacani: We Are Like Air, Experimental Gallery, 3/F Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai, Mon-Sun, 10am-6pm, December 1-20, 2018.