Outstanding Employer Contest Prize Giving Ceremony, July 17, 3 pm – Invitation
You are invited to attend the Prize Giving Ceremony of the first annual Outstanding Employer Contest on July 17, 2016 (Sunday) from 3-4 pm at Central Oasis Gallery (in the Old Central Market) in Central.
The Ceremony will include:
– Introduction of the “How to Make Space” project and the Outstanding Employer Contest
– Judges’ Reflections
– Prize Giving
– Employer and Domestic Worker Sharing
– Thanks and Conclusion
Both the domestic helpers and the employers of the winning entries will receive recognition and a token prize, and the employer will be awarded an Outstanding Employer certificate. The five judges from diverse fields who were on the judging panel will reflect on their judging considerations during the Prize Giving Ceremony. Employers and domestic workers will also be invited to share their feelings and their tips for success.
The Contest has been organized by collaboration between Open Door, Devora Neumark and Rowena Yin-Fan Chan for the art project “Part of the Family?” as part of the “How to Make Space” exhibition sponsored by Apexart and curated by Rear View (Projects) and on display at Central Oasis Gallery until July 23.
Hong Kong is the host country for nearly 350,000 migrant domestic workers hailing mainly from the Philippines and Indonesia. Problems between employers and domestic workers are often reported, yet the ways that appreciative and caring employers succeed in maintaining good relationships with their domestic workers are rarely noted.
The Outstanding Employer Contest aims to reverse the silence, and shed more light on the positive stories of employers and domestic workers. It is a public competition in which migrant domestic workers with over five years of employment nominate their employers as an Outstanding Employer, by describing the traits that make the work relationship rewarding for both. Details of the Contest are at Open Door website www.opendoor.hk.
The Received Nominations of Outstanding Employers
Domestic workers from all parts of Hong Kong participated in the Outstanding Employer Contest, including: Shatin, Choi Hung, Hung Hom, Chai Wan, Yuen Long and Aberdeen. They were from Philippines, Indonesia and also Thailand.
The responses were filled with examples of their employers’ consideration, such as:
– Providing wifi and electronic devices such as iPads, or assistance in setting up other communications means for the workers to keep contact with their families
– Being able to eat their home country’s food, sometimes even with the employer’s family
– Encouragement and provision of chances to pursue skills and hobby improvement such as photography, cooking, hiking, and computer use
– Paying for and arranging the work schedule to allow the helper to pursue a university education
– Providing ample rest time and doing their own care work and housework when the helper is sick, busy or needs rest
– Trusting the domestic worker on cooking choices and arrangement of her tasks and time
– Freedom to invite friends to the home, allowing the worker to feel she indeed has a home away from home
– Active concern for the helper’s health, including providing medicine, specialist treatment, and advice
Although many examples were things that could be done with money, such as supporting the costs of study or visits to family, many other examples were of a non-monetary yet considerate nature, such as helping to choose the best mobile phone to buy, learning Indonesian to speak with one’s helper, and many other signs of respect and care.
With such acts, many of the domestic workers felt inspired to continue working for their employers, sometimes even when their financial need was over and they could go home.
Part of the Family? – Exhibition of Letters of Gratitude
Besides hosting the Prize Giving Ceremony, the “Part of the Family?” project includes a series of letters and drawings of gratitude written by former and current employers and/or their family members to their domestic helpers, detailing the reasons why they are thankful to their helpers. One response of gratitude, in the form of a drawing, is by the collaborating artist Rowena Yin-fan Chan and created for her domestic worker Julie whom her family has employed for 25 years.
Other contributors are: Chen Ju-chen, Catherine Shih Yi Cheng, Gloria Schiavo, So Mei Chi, writer of the book on domestic workers Strangers at Home, Doris Lee and several primary school students.
About the Organizers
Open Door is an organization founded by Doris Lee and other domestic worker employers to improve the working and living situation of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. It promotes mutual understanding and respect between foreign domestic workers and employers; and documents their stories.
Devora Neumark is an interdisciplinary artist-researcher, educator, community-engaged practitioner, frequent lecturer, and consultant for the Assembly of First Nations of Quebec and Labrador. She completed her SSHRC-funded research-creation PhD (Radical Beauty for Troubled Times) in April 2013 at Concordia University’s Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies in Society and Culture. Addressing the role that house-beautification plays for individuals coming to terms with the traumas associated with involuntary dislocation, this body of dialogic performances situates aesthetics as critically important to establishing the conditions for remaking home in the aftermath of domicide, environmental disaster, and other instances of home’s destruction. Devora has taught at the Goddard College MFA in Interdisciplinary Arts program since July 2003.
Rowena Yin-Fan Chan 陳燕芬 is a Hong Kong-based artist, raised in San Francisco. Growing up in a multicultural city, she became very interested in the expression of her different cultural identities and the reverberations on her of the everyday life she experienced. She earned her BFA in Book Art, Drawing and Mixed Media, as well as Graphic Design from the California College of the Arts. Chan had a solo exhibition in San Francisco in 2013.
The “How to Make Space” Project: https://apexart.org/exhibitions/davis-lee.php
Open Door: www.opendoor.hk
Devora Neumark: www.devoraneumark.com
Rowena Yin-Fan Chan: www.roroute-art.com
For inquiries, contact:
Doris Lee, Open Door
- t) 6848-6914