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Pinay artist-in-residence holds workshop with OFWs

17 December 2018

Filipino Artist Alma Quinto conducts a Textile art workshop  

By Cris Cayat

She came to Hong Kong to finish two projects about migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong but didn’t know how, and where, to do the project at first.

Alma Quinto, who is here as an artist-in-residence at Centre for Heritage Arts and Textiles in Tsuen Wan, said her first few days of stay was a blur, but after connecting with a few members of the Filipino community, the project blossomed.

Some of the participants with their finished artworks.

She eventually came up with a project called “Day-off Mo?”, in reference to the question frequently asked of her by Filipino migrant workers she encounters everywhere.

The first part of this project was held on Nov 18 at Statue Square in Central, the iconic hangout of Filipino migrant workers on their days off.

Quinto collaborated with various groups in the morning to hold a workshop using textile as a medium of expressing their activities on Sundays. The idea was to compile all the artworks and create a textile book.

In the afternoon she worked with two migrants with a passion for the arts in another collaboration for a more symbolic but silent assertion of women migrants’ role in the progress of Hong Kong.

Cecil Eduarte, who is from Abra, created a doll statue of her famous townmate, the feminist icon Gabriela Silang. Her soft statue had a raised fist to symbolize her stand to fight for the rights of fellow migrants.

This writer, who is from Benguet, was the second collaborator. My own soft statue was dressed up in indigenous fabrics as a representation of our tribe in a cosmopolitan city like Hong Kong.

The two soft statues were placed in front of the black-colored stone statue of Sir Thomas Jackson, more famously known among migrants as the “Blackman,” in the middle of the Square.

Quinto said the installation was very symbolic, as it reflected the life of migrant workers in Hong Kong.

On Nov. 25, more soft statues were placed in front of Blackman, which also represented the way migrants spend their Sundays.

The collaborators on this day included were Joan Pabona and Dholeeh Ann Hidalgo for photography, Mharz Balaoro for LGBT rights, Elpie Leba for Upcycling, and Victoria Munar in contemporary Filipiniana outfit.

All the artworks were exhibited at The Mills in Tsuen Wan, site of the former cotton spinning mills of the Nan Fun Textile factory. The exhibit included a presentation of Quinto’s research and collaborative works with Hong Kong locals and Filipino migrants. The exhibit will run until Jan. 6.

Quinto, the fourth artist-in-residence at Chat at The Mills, is a visual artist, educator and cultural worker whose works aim to empower underprivileged people and “heal broken dreams”. Her three-month tenure runs from September to December this year. – with a report from Ellen Asis

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