Filipina domestic helper Xyza Cruz Bacani, known for her striking black and white photos of Hong Kong life, is going to New York as a scholar.
This was after Magnum Foundation announced Thursday that the 27-year-old Bacani has been chosen as one of its seven Human Rights Fellows for 2015. [Click here for samples of her work.]
Bacani couldn’t hide her excitement upon learning the news.
“All dreams are valid!,” she said on Facebook. “I’m one of the 2015 Magnum Fellows! I’m going to see New York and finally [have] a formal education!”
She added that she was “literally crying” when she heard the news.
According to its website, Magnum Foundation “champions in-depth, independent documentary photography that fosters empathy, engagement, and positive social change.”
Beyond providing scholarships, the foundation also “continues to mentor and support these regional photographers when possible through editorial advice, introductions to photo editors, and in some cases, helping to facilitate independent freelance work with prominent, international media networks.”
Its coursework is developed in collaboration with New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts.
Aside from Bacani, other fellows are Basel Alyazouri, 19, Palestine; Nour Kelze, 27, Syria; Sipho Mpongo, 21, South Africa; Chery Dieu Nalio, 33, Haiti; Anastasia Vlasova, 22, Ukraine; and Muyi Xiao, 23, China.
A June 18, 2014 article on the New York Times said Bacani, who grew up in Nueva Vizcaya, uses her overtime pay to fund her photography hobby, buying lenses, cameras and film.
Bacani is a second-generation domestic helper serving the same woman who has employed her mother for 20 years.