OFW artists collaborate with HK-based filmmaker in children’s book
The book’s cover names both the author and MDW illustrators 

Hong Kong’s first children’s book to be illustrated
by migrant domestic workers and written by film director and scriptwriter Joanna
Bowers, will be launched through immersive, hands-on activities, on May 11 at
Asia Society in Hong Kong.

The book, My
Extra-Special Aunty
, features the works of Cristina Cayat and Noemi
Manguerra, both founding members of Guhit Kulay, which is comprised of MDW
artists in Hong Kong.

Bowers said that in her book, she wanted to capture
the special bond between Hong Kong and their domestic workers, known
colloquially as “aunties,” and play an integral role in the lives of many Hong
Kong families.

“By sharing this enchanting story, we hope to
inspire children and families to foster meaningful connections that transcend
boundaries,” said Bowers.

My
Extra-Special Aunty
is narrated from a child’s perspective,
and aims to foster empathy, kindness, and respect among children, their
families, and their beloved aunties. It is depicted in both English and
Traditional Chinese.

Bowers had her first directorial debut with the
documentary “The Helper,” which premiered in Hong Kong in 2017, followed by a
theatrical release. It was screened at the Lincoln Center in New York City in
February this year.

My
Extra-Special Aunty
is her first book.

Cayat, who was one of two OFW-collaborators on the book
and has years of experience writing articles for The SUN, said she is proud to
contribute her artworks.

“Coming from the northern part of the Philippines, I
wanted to bring my culture into this book by using traditional design and
clothing. I think it’s the perfect tool to start a conversation, inspiring
young readers to appreciate different cultures and understand their Aunties
better,” said Cayat.”

Manguerra, 
who is now based in Canada, said her role was to illustrate the
characters in the book using watercolour, which is her favourite medium.

“I believe that through the power of art, we can
bridge gaps and build understanding. I’m honored to be a part of this project
that showcases the incredible talent and diversity of migrant domestic workers,”
she said.

The team behind the book came together in 2018 at a
charity event organized by Enrich HK, and agreed to collaborate on a
storytelling project using various techniques such as poetry, hand
illustrations, painting, and textiles, and focus on the emotional attachments
between domestic workers and the families they serve.

My
Extra-Special Aunty
is now on sale at The Lion Rock Press
and Bookazine outlets.
 

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