dholeeH ann hidalgo (leeh ann)
Prior to coming to Hong Kong in 2013 to work as a domestic worker, Leeh Ann was a private tutor and a high school teacher. For Leeh Ann, Hong Kong is not just a workplace, but also her second home -- a place where she learns about life and continues to grow.
Leeh Ann has always enjoyed taking photos. After arriving in Hong Kong, she picked up photography again as a way to cope with and combat being pigeon-holed as a domestic worker. Her photography skills developed in 2015 when she posted a photo that she had taken on Facebook and the chairman of the Cathay Camera Club contacted her to mentor and “adopt” her, and introduced her to the camera club. Another member even gave her the first camera!
Currently, Leeh Ann is an active member and mentor at Lensational, a non-profit organization which aims to empower women, especially migrant domestic workers, through photography. They organize free photography workshops, and then showcase their works through exhibitions. Leeh Ann also contributes to online platforms like Humans of Hong Kong and The Person Behind the Maid, a platform for domestic workers from both Hong Kong and Singapore to share stories, dreams, and hopes. She is also a member of Guhit Kulay, a Filipino artist collective.
Leeh Ann was exposed to second-hand gender-based violence (GBV) both while growing up and while working as a domestic worker. As such, she recognizes that GBV affects not just the person who experiences it, but also the people who witness and hear about it. Moving forward, Leeh Ann wants to help alleviate the stigma around GBV and be part of the movement voicing that GBV is not normal and that it needs to end.
Leeh Ann’s future plans are to be part of the change in Hong Kong. She wants to show that regardless of how negative things are, there is always something positive to be found, no matter how small.
In her free time, Leeh Ann can be found taking pictures on the streets of Hong Kong and volunteering.
Jeffrey Andrews, Mentor of Leeh Ann