Filipina OFW-photographer chosen for esteemed NY fellowship

By , on January 24, 2015

Xyra Bacani (Facebook photo)
Xyra Bacani (Facebook photo)

MANILA, Philippines – New York’s renowned Magnum Foundation has chosen Filipina photographer Xyza Bacani to be one of the organization’s Human Rights fellows. Bacani lives and works in Hong Kong, where she is employed as a domestic helper.

The overseas foreign worker turned ace-shutterbug will be flying to New York City to participate in a rigorous six-week program at New York University (NYU). Those chosen for the training will “explore strategies for creating effective visual stories with the aim of advancing human rights in their home counties,” the Magnum Foundation detailed.

Bacani took to social media to express her joy and gratitude at having been chosen: “All dreams are valid! I’m one of the 2015 magnum fellows! I’m going to see New York and finally a formal education! I’m literally crying when I received the news,” she posted on her Facebook page.


Xyra Bacani's Facebook post
Xyra Bacani’s Facebook post.


Twenty-seven-year-old Bacani is one of seven Magnum fellows for 2015. Others chosen for the program are from China, Haiti, Palestine, South Africa, Syria, and Ukraine.

Bacani first garnered widespread attention after she was featured by the New York Times in its Lens Blog section, in which she was hailed as the modern-day Vivian Maier. Her name has since been making the rounds in photo circuits, not just for the excellence of her work in the field of street photography, but for the inspiration of her story.

A domestic helper for a Chinese-Australian employer for nearly a decade now, Bacani, who hails from Nueva Vizcaya, has become incredibly adept at capturing street scenes so striking that they speak volumes to the viewer.