PathFinders caught up with Xyza Cruz Bacani, renowned photographer and author, this Mother’s Day,
(1) Hong Kong misses you, Xyza! What have you been up to? Any interesting new projects coming up?
I miss Hong Kong very much too. I am currently on the final leg of my master’s degree in New York University and will be graduating this May 2022. I am exploring different theories touching on post colonial memories and stories of hope. I am also excited to be working with PathFinders on a wonderful campaign.
(2) What’s the story behind the image you have selected for PathFinders’ #WorkingMomsHk campaign?
My mother was saying goodbye to our family in the Philippines. She hugged my teary eyed sister while my father and niece looked on. It’s a scene that is “normalised” in our family. Migration and saying goodbye is a process we have known since we were kids but the pain stays the same. They say that humans can easily adapt to different emotions like fear, sadness or grief. The separation of a mother from her family is always painful and the trauma lingers. It is such a powerful and emotional image for me.
(3) Why is the issue of children of Migrant Domestic Workers – who spend many years apart from their mothers – so special for you?
I am a child left-behind by my migrant mother when I was eight year old. I grew up without her so I know how challenging it is to be away from my own mother. Migration has touched our lives in so many ways. My story is not special, it is the story of millions of children left behind by a migrant parent. And I want these stories to be seen and heard. Being an insider to issues of children left-behind, as a documentarian, it is my duty to be the vessel for these stories. I am hoping to be the conduit of these stories.
(4) What’s one hope and wish you have for every child whose mother is working abroad?
I hope that mothers and their children can communicate better and be more connected. I wish that the separation will not be a cause for more heartbreaks. I hope that one day, mothers and their children will be together and be in a better position in life. I hope that their separation is worth it.
(5) What is your personal message for all the MDW moms out there this Mother’s Day?
Happy Mother’s Day to all the Migrant Domestic Worker moms. Thank you for all the sacrifices that you have made for your families. Please, don’t forget to love yourself too and be your own hero.