Filipino maid wins New York photography scholarship

January 27, 2015 13:58
Xyza Bacani (left) and one of the photos on her Facebook page, prints of which are for sale. Part of the proceeds will go to Bethune House. Photos: Facebook

Xyza Bacani is as handy with a digital camera as with a broom.

The Filipino nanny has won a scholarship to study photography at New York University this summer, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday.

Bacani, who has worked in Hong Kong for nine years as a domestic helper, is a keen photographer in her spare time.

With camera in hand and a strong will to learn and improve her photographic skills, the 27-year-old has accumulated a collection of inspiring and thought-provoking street photos on her Facebook page, Xaxaphotography.

Her work caught the eye of famous documentary photographer Rick Rocamora, also from the Philippines, who has since introduced her to many photographers.

Bacani's work has attracted more attention recently, and her street photos were on display at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club last month and featured in a photo exhibition at the Philippine consulate general in Hong Kong in November.

She was recently named a 2015 Human Rights Fellow by the Magnum Foundation, which will sponsor her for a six-week course at NYU's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts in the summer.

Bacani said she would like to let the world know of the human rights issues back home.

She told CNN she received nursing training in the Philippines before coming to Hong Kong, where she looks after her employer's seven grandchildren.

Bacani also volunteers at Bethune House, a support center and shelter for domestic helpers, some of whom feature in her stark but moving black-and-white photographs.

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