Ang Mayflowers (mga bulaklak na sumisibol sa buwan ng mayo) ay hango mula sa Flores de Mayo (Flowers of May), isang pista ng mga bulaklak na ipinagdiriwang sa buwan ng Mayo bilang parangal kay Birhen Maria.
Dinala ng mga Pilipino ang tradisyong ito sa kanilang pangingibang-bansa, at binago ang porma, kahulugan, at gamit nito ayon sa kanilang konteksto bilang mga migrante -- mula sa paggamit nito bilang isang uri ng pagtatanghal at pageantry, hanggang sa pag-oorganisa ng komunidad at pagtataguyod ng mga karapatan ng mga migranteng manggagawa. Gaya ng mga nabanggit, ang proyektong Mayflowers ay isa ring panibagong bersyon ng Flores de Mayo, kung saan ito ay inangkop sa kasalukuyang kalagayan ng mga migranteng Pilipino, at sa kanilang mga pangangailangan sa panahon ng pandemya.
Ang proyektong Mayflowers ay nakasentro sa paglikha ng mga bulaklak gamit ang papel at mga recycled na materyales. Sa pagsulong ng mga art workshop, ginagamit namin ang mga bulaklak na ito upang makagawa ng mga costume, performance, art installation, at mga iskultura.
Ang aming online exhibit ay madadagdagan pa ng mga likhang-sining sa mga susunod na linggo. Sa buong buwan ng Mayo, ito ay pupunuin ng mga bulaklak na ginawa ng mga kalahok sa mga workshop, at sa Mayo 30, magsasagawa kami ng isang virtual Santacruzan sa aming Facebook page.
Artist and educator
Filipino Domestic Workers Association - U.K.
Cielo spends most of her time organizing for Filipino Domestic Workers Association (FDWA). For Cielo, a hobby is something that one likes doing, and when asked about hers, the first thing that comes to her mind is organizing. Organizing for FDWA is part of Cielo’s daily routine; she responds to the call of migrant workers who need assistance and rescues them from abusive employers, any time of the day.
She is one of the co-facilitators of the Mayflowers project which started because of the Beyond Myself Exhibition back in 2017. What motivated Cielo to co-facilitate the workshop was her intention to build a network of migrant workers from Taiwan and Hongkong. Personally, she finds flower-making therapeutic.
Jason Dy, SJ
Artist, priest and educator
Cris has been working in Hongkong for 25 years, where she’s also an active member of Guhit Kulay, a migrant artist collective set up in 2017.
Pre-pandemic, Cris is mostly a visual artist taking part in workshops and putting up exhibits in Hongkong. Because of the lockdown, she ventured to embroidery and sew cloth masks to cheer up her friends.
She grew up in Baguio where she owns a gown rental business on the side. She looks forward to applying what she learned in the workshops in developing her business.
Flo has been working in London since 2002. She also spends her time as a bookkeeper for Kanlungan Filipino Consortium, working for the welfare and interests of migrants, refugees, diaspora communities from the Philippines and Southeast Asia living in the UK.
She enjoys networking with migrant workers around the world and looks forward to every Kamustahan session because, for her, it’s an opportunity to listen to other workers in the diaspora and share their voices. Because of the pandemic, Flo saw posting on Facebook as a window for integration and starting discussions with each other.
For Flo, writing is a powerful and useful instrument—very important for migrants to document their situation, especially for victims of trafficking who need to write about their experiences in answering forms from the immigration office.
Rachell enjoys meeting fellow migrant workers through Kamustahan and feels grateful to be part of the project. She makes yellow paper flowers for her children because the color symbolizes hope.
For Irine, joining the Santa Cruzan for Kamustahan is a different experience because she never experienced the tradition back in her hometown in Cavite.
She looks forward to every workshop session because each “Kamustahan” is literally a checking-up session with fellow participants and a safe space to talk about their shared experiences as migrant workers. She feels proud participating in the project and seeing the work of other participants.
Making flowers for Mayflowers breaks the monotony of her days, usually spent taking care of Taiwanese elders. For Irine, the craft hones her creativity and refreshes her mind. Someday, she hopes to be an art teacher.
Nizza admits that she’s an introvert, and was initially reluctant to speak out and talk about her outputs. Eventually, the sessions encouraged her to be more confident about herself, allowing her to share more with her fellow migrant workers.
She says she’s happy that because of Kamustahan, she meets people from Hongkong and London. Meanwhile, back in her hometown in Cotabato, her children witness her make flowers out of papers during their video calls. For Nizza, flower making with her children strengthened their bond. In the future, she hopes to learn how to paint.