Mobility ‧ Commission

WMA Commission – “We Are Like Air” Solo Exhibition of Xyza Cruz Bacani

Filipina documentary photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani, recipient of the “Mobility” cycle of WMA Commission, will launch her solo exhibition We Are Like Air at the Hong Kong Arts Centre from 1- 20 December 2018, during which her first photo book of the same title will also be launched. Curated by Melissa Karman Lee, We Are Like Air features new black-and-white photographs that have not been published before, as well as video and installations to tell the story of her mother, her family and other migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. The exhibition will provide written and verbal information in Chinese, English, Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia to enable a wider range of audience to learn about the lives of the community.

Xyza Cruz Bacani is a Filipina documentary photographer whose works and story has been featured in the New York Times Lens Blog, CNN and other international media. While working as a migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong for almost a decade, she used photography to raise awareness about under-reported stories on migrants and human rights issues.  

Sheila S. Coronel, Dean of Academic Affairs and Director of Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism, says, “Photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani shines the light on the inner lives of migrant domestic workers and makes a plea for recognising not just their rights but their humanity.”

Curated by Melissa Karman Lee, We Are Like Air is the public presentation of the WMA Commission project. “We Are Like Air is not only about illuminating the pain and survival of living abroad and from economic urgency leaving your loved ones an ocean away. This exhibition is also about the celebration of very tangible friendships and intimate connections of which they blossom or grow in astonishing places between unexpected people,” says Lee.

Xyza, who used to be a domestic worker herself, reclaims the story of the migrant worker that has been told countless times by others. She is telling their own tale - not as victims, but as champions who have overcome many hardships in life. The exhibition portrays the experience of millions of mothers, daughters and families whose lives have been disrupted by migration. The exhibition title, We Are Like Air, comes from the idea that migrant workers are treated like air – invisible but important.

The exhibition will provide docent tours in Cantonese, English, Filipino (Tagalog) and Indonesian (Bahasa). Guhit Kulay, an art group formed by migrant domestic workers, will facilitate an Art Jamming session from 2-5pm on 2 December, 2018 at the Hong Kong Arts Centre to engage exhibition participants to respond to Xyza’s work. Xyza will also appear at the We Are Like Air book signing event at 11:30am on 9 December, 2018, at the newspaper stand in front of Worldwide House, 12 Connaught Road Central (Central MTR Station Exit A).


Details of the exhibition

Exhibition Period:                         1 December 2018 – 20 December 2018

Open Hour:                                     10:00-18:00

Venue:                                                 Experimental Gallery, 3/F Hong Kong Arts Centre, 2 Harbour Road, Wan Chai

Co-presented by:                           WMA  & Hong Kong Arts Centre

Photo Printing supported by:  FUJIFILM

Programme supported by:        Bethune House, Guhit Kulay, HER Fund

*This is a collateral event of Hong Kong International Photo Festival