Submissive, confined, and controlled. These are the words often associated with ethnic minority women in society, but non-profit organisation Hong Kong Unison is hoping to break these stereotypes in a fascinating new photography exhibition which tells the stories of 17 women living in Hong Kong.
“People think of me – and women like me – as submissive, confined to the home, and subordinate to male dominance, but you know that there is so much more to who we are, don’t you?” These are the words of an ethnic minority woman who grew up in Hong Kong. In fact, many ethnic minority women are quick to recount a list of stereotypes imposed on them by the society.
Hong Kong is a diverse metropolitan; the non-ethnic Chinese population accounts for 6.4 per cent of our population. People from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds had been woven into the history of our city since its beginning. Yet many in this Chinese-majority city still think of ethnic minorities as “foreign” and “non-local”.
Without deeper understanding of each other, we have little hope in eliminating stereotypes and fighting prejudices and discrimination.
She says – Photographing Hong Kong Ethnic Minority Women is Hong Kong Unison’s second collaboration with photojournalist Lam Chun Tung. Through this series of portraits and stories of 17 women from diverse backgrounds, we set out to tell their life stories and deconstruct stereotypes. What we captured at the end was picture upon picture of courage, compassion, strength and grace.
Unison is holding this exhibition and publishing a book under the same name in hopes that these photos and stories will begin to foster mutual understanding, so that Hong Kongers shall see past the one-dimensional stereotypes, and get to appreciate ethnic minorities as diverse individuals who contribute to the social fabric of Hong Kong.
Despite the usual aversion towards interviews and being photographed among women in her culture, Bushra (pictured above) decided to tell her story through this photo exhibition because she hoped to change people’s perceptions of Pakistan and her people. “I want to change how people perceive Pakistanis. I want people to know that in Pakistan, education is considered important – and there are no restrictions for girls either,” she said.
Sitting in her small apartment, Bushra chatted about her education – a master’s degree in business and administration – and her dreams of going back to school. The conversation was constantly punctured by giggles from her four-year-old daughter Aminah, a little girl with gigantic eyes who speaks Cantonese without an accent.
“I’ve made my home here,” she said. “Pakistan is made home by my parents. But I want to stay here. It’s where I made my home.”[masterslider id=”136″] Visit the exhibition in Sham Shui Po from the September 6 to 19 (weekdays 4.30pm to 8.30pm, weekends 12pm to 8.30pm).
Address: SoCO269, 1/F, 269 Yu Chau St, Sham Shui Po (3 min. walk from MTR Sham Shui Po Exit C2)
For more information visit the Facebook event page.