3 Mother’s Day events in Hong Kong explore women’s lives through dance, photography and art

3 Mother’s Day events in Hong Kong explore women’s lives through dance, photography and art

  • In Womanhood, dancer Xie Yin shares her journey of self-discovery, while GisEle Tchitchiama presents multimedia art exhibition Luminaria
  • Xyza Cruz Bacani’s A Mother’s Day Exhibition photography show looks at the struggles faced in Hong Kong by migrant domestic workers who are mothers

Being a dancer gives Xie Yin more reason than most to keep tabs on how her body has changed over the years. For this year’s Mother’s Day, the Hong Kong-based choreographer is presenting her journey of self-discovery in a new work.

Womanhood, described as “a dance of ‘herstory'”, will be performed by four female dancers from the Hong Kong Dance Company (HKDC) from May 12 to 14 at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre in Tsim Sha Tsui.

“I have experienced pregnancy, childbirth, breastfeeding and nurturing, and have seen various changes to my body during the repeated trials of endurance,” Xie says.

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A former assistant artistic director of the HKDC who recently became a freelance choreographer, Xie says she wants to explore these transformations and the lives of everyday women.

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Lam Yin-yi, one of the dancers in

The idea for Womanhood was shaped by her involvement in “As Flower, As Mother, As Water”, a 2020 research project by Hong Kong theatre director Ho Ying-fung comprising interviews with 100 mothers from different socioeconomic backgrounds.

Xie was deeply touched by the conversations. “After listening to the stories of more than 20 mothers, I understood that their descriptions of the mundane and trivial occurrences of daily life are actually a vivid portrayal of everyone’s lives,” she says.

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The dancers in Womanhood are no exception.

“There are no heroines with strong martial arts skills, no gentle beauties and no exquisitely gorgeous women,” she says.

“They will choose things from their lives that they may have forgotten, and use their dialogues, bodies and words to respond to the most ordinary things in daily life.”

For details visit Hong Kong Dance Company’s website

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A migrant domestic worker walking in high heels in Hong Kong, in a photo from Xyza Cruz Bacani’s

Photo exhibition puts migrant mothers in the picture

Hong Kong has more than 350,000 migrant domestic workers, most of them Filipinos and Indonesians, many of whom have left their children behind.

Xyza Cruz Bacani has experienced first-hand the struggles they face. Bacani was eight when her mother, Georgia, left her family in the Philippines to find work in Hong Kong. Bacani followed in her footsteps, working as a domestic helper in the city for almost a decade before carving out a career as a photographer.

As a tribute, Bacani is hosting “A Mother’s Day Exhibition” at Gig, the exhibition and event space at the Ovolo Southside hotel in Wong Chuk Hang, from May 12 to 14. Focusing on migration and motherhood, the exhibition – with support from the Hong Kong NGO PathFinders – comprises photographs from Bacani’s photo book, We Are Like Air, the title a reference to how the city’s domestic workers are not always seen.

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Award-winning photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani worked as a domestic helper in Hong Kong for almost a decade. Photo: courtesy of Xyza Cruz Bacani

“I’m grateful to the migrant community for allowing me to be the conduit for their stories,” Bacani says. “It is a healing process, and it bridges the gap created by years of separation.”

Bacani hopes her photographs will bring mothers and children closer together and foster better communication “so that they may never feel alone”.

Catherine Gurtin, chief executive of PathFinders, says We Are Like Air pays tribute to the sacrificial love of mothers who are migrant domestic workers. “It also pays tribute to the courage of the children they leave behind, who grow up without their mothers by their side,” Gurtin says.

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Migrant domestic workers have been helping Hong Kong for the past 50 years. Photo: Xyza Cruz Bacani

“It has been 50 years since [migrant domestic workers] entered our homes in Hong Kong, making significant contributions to countless families across our city. We hope this exhibition will inspire a greater sense of gratitude, appreciation and care for this often invisible workforce.”

Bacani will attend the event to sign copies of her book.

Tickets, sold through Eventbrite, start from HK$100 and include entry to the Affordable Art Fair, which starts May 18.

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An artwork from Gisele Tchitchiama’s exhibition

Creative chain reaction results in multimedia show

In summer 2022, Hong Kong-based French painter and collage artist GisEle Tchitchiama took a photo while travelling from France to the British town of Dover.

The blurry landscape image set off a creative chain reaction. First, it inspired a song. Later, Tchitchiama worked with filmmaker Joanna Bowers to create a short film around the song. Then Laurent Perrin, assistant principal cello with the Hong Kong Sinfonietta, wrote a score for the film.

Together they have created the multimedia exhibition “Luminaria”, which “frames a quest for illumination through encounters with light, fragility and the ephemeral” and runs from May 5 to 17 at Hart Haus in Kennedy Town.

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Tchitchiama says her artistic collaborators understand the delicate emotional landscapes of her vision. She adds that her multiple identities – French, African, woman, wife, mother, daughter – all influence her creative process.

“Being a mother and an artist is having the privilege to witness and embrace the dimensions of what creation means, both physically and psychologically, echoing the infinite aria of life,” she says.

“Luminaria”, Hart Haus, 3/F, Cheung Hing Industrial Building, 12P Smithfield Road, Kennedy Town, May 5-17, Mon-Sat 10.30am-6.30pm

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This article originally appeared on the South China Morning Post (www.scmp.com), the leading news media reporting on China and Asia.

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