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2 Pinay DHs short-listed for human rights arts awards

04 December 2018

Maureen Villanueva’s painting “Innocent Hands” 

By The SUN

Gemma Abad’s dress
made out of the ubiquitous
straw bag (also known as “striped
bag” among OFWs).
Entries from two Filipina domestic workers have been short-listed for this year’s Hong Kong Human Rights Arts Prize 2018 competition whose winners will be known at ceremonies to be held on Dec 8 at The Hive Spring in Aberdeen.

Gemma Abad’s dress made out of the ubiquitous straw bag (“striped bag” among OFWs) and Maureen Villanueva’s painting “Innocent Hands” are among the 23 entries that have been short-listed for the awards, according to HKHRAP director Ms Katie Vadja.

Launched by Justice Centre Hong Kong, the award encourages Hong Kong-based artists to explore local and external humanitarian issues. The 23 entries from 24 artists this year have been selected from over a hundred applicants.

Using mediums ranging from film to neon lights to recyclables, the thought-provoking installations explore topics from migration to sustainability.

The winner of the HKHRAP 2018 will receive a cash prize of $35,000 and a trophy by prominent Hong Kong artist Jaffa Lam.

Two runners-up will also receive cash prizes, and a Directors’ Choice Award will be presented at the exhibition opening.

Previous winners in the arts tilt include Filipina former domestic worker-turned professional photographer Xyza Cruz Bacani for a series of pictures of migrant workers.

Camarines Norte native Abad, who has been working in Hong Kong for the past 11 years, shows the fashion value of the familiar bag.

Her untitled artwork is captioned: “A market bag: ordinary, common, simple and durable transformed into a new form, a new purpose.”

Abad told The SUN she was inspired and encouraged by her employer Kate Sparrow, who is also an artist, to pursue her artistic talent. They collaborated in an exhibit called “Not For Sale” in October.

Villanueva, from Sorsogon, has been working in Hong Kong for six years as domestic helper. Previously, she was a musician in Malaysia and the Philippines but came to Hong Kong after taking up a course as caregiver.

She said her artwork, titled “Innocent hands,” is about rape. The artist said she wanted to emphasize the protection of victims.

Villanueva is a member of Guhit Kulay Hong Kong, a group of Filipino artists, and this, she says, is the first big competition she has joined.

The entries also include “Lie Flat”, an installation by local artist Florence Li that was reportedly inspired by a case study on a maid’s room in a high-end residential estate.

Li’s work questions the standard of living in Hong Kong and what is considered to be adequate living space and conditions.

Tickets to the awards ceremony start at $250, and all proceeds will be donated to Justice Centre Hong Kong. For more information, visit their website:


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