Aidha’s Annual Unspoken Life Photography Exhibition 2020

Unspoken Life seeks to delve beneath the labels and unfurl the many selves of foreign domestic workers (FDWs) often unseen by Singapore society. The virtual exhibition celebrates the strength, courage and creativity of foreign domestic workers – who are also mothers, sisters, daughters and artists – here seeking a brighter future for themselves and their families. 

The featured photographs below are all taken by FDWs as part of Aidha’s Unspoken Life Photography Competition 2020. Photographs are available for sale and all proceeds will go towards Aidha’s 2020 Gift of Education campaign to raise funds for scholarships for our students.


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Unspoken Life's Winning Submissions Click on the photos for a larger view

Unspoken Life Overall Winner, Jean E. Ragual

REST – ‘Relaxation’ is the most common complaint of workers. Overtime with no pay, a lot of work that is not in the task list… But allowing them to rest for a short time is not enough. Don’t give them a single day to rest in a whole month. They are a human being, they feel what you feel every day.

Unspoken Life People's Choice Winner, Loida Natividad

I can’t even grasp a perfect word to describe how much a domestic worker loves their employer’s kids. Truly they take care of the kids as their own. But despite their hard work and sleepless nights, they are being underpaid and unappreciated.

Shining a Light – First Place, Sholekah

Keeping Singapore from hunger. Food delivery drivers are valuable key workers. Their service joins that of Singapore key-workers in healthcare, grocery shopping, food preparation, waste disposal and transport to help Singapore overcome COVID-19. Rain or shine our food delivery workers deliver our food, thank you.

Beauty in Diversity – First Place, Davy Animas

This group of Indonesian migrant workers were so happy and proud after casting their votes that they took photos of their fingers with purple ink. They made their statements through the photograph that voting is not the only way to participate in how their government being ruled but it’s the quickest and easiest way to send their message across so to be heard despite them being in a different country.

EmpowHERment – First Place, Eli Nur Fadilah

Coming to Aidha is not only for courses but also one of the best decision I’ve ever made. Every time I saw mothers with their children I always snap a photo. To motivate and empower me, I think of providing my children with a better future. Educating myself is educating my generation. Honestly, I feel jealous as a domestic worker mother to see other mothers with their children. But I know I am here for my children. So, I take it as empowerment.

Unspoken Life's Featured Submissions Click on the photos for a larger view

When the race takes place we can see the participants eager to complete, even though they know the prize they will get is not great. Smiles, laughter and encouragement from their friends and family make the atmosphere more enjoyable.
– Dini Handayan for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
Last year, when I was returned for my holiday, it coincided with Indonesia’s National Day. As usual every time National day, we always hold a small competition for all residents in their respective place. Togetherness in celebrating National Day makes unforgettable memories.
– Dini Handayan for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
When I first saw this scene, I think it made me respect them even more. They potentially risk their lives carrying out such dangerous work that most people would not want to do.
– Ana Rohana for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
Coincidentally, I came across these workers painting the HDB houses. It was 11 AM under the hot sun, it’s a really tough job as it requires lots of physical labour that many don’t know about.
– Ana Rohana for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
Face masks are very important to our lives nowadays and we often overlook it. It will help to prevent the spread of viruses. It’s not easy to wear every day. We are not used to wearing it before but now we need to, in order to protect ourselves. Hope this virus will end soon so that we can go back to normal life.
– Juliet Robles Salvideo for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
A prenup shoot is a wonderful way of commemorating your wedding. It is also a special way of imprinting your flair on photos that you share with your family and friends. Being behind the scenes as a photographer is important because we preserve the events and people in our lives.
– Juliet Robles Salvideo for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
It was a busy and noisy Sunday around Little India and these foreign workers found a quiet corner to chat with their families on their day off. One of them was waiting for his relatives to give him money so he could send it to his wife as he had not yet received his salary. They look very tired and maybe they found it hard to relax and enjoy.
– Loida Natividad for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
Dogs are incredible friends and a good companion not only for the young ones but also for the older folks. Dogs are loyal, kind, understanding, and have an indomitable spirit. It was such a lovely photowalk when I spotted this young man with a bunch of his charge taking their morning walk. Their energy is indeed infectious!
– Davy Animas for ‘Shining a Light’ Category
To me, the photograph represents life’s paths and opportunities. Life is full of uncertainties and that we must not be afraid of taking a different path than others, because, in life, there is no right or wrong choice of path. Everyone is presented with opportunities and when you happen to discover one, just be brave and embrace it.
– Davy Animas for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
In diversity, there is beauty and strength. She works abroad to sustain the needs of her family back home, and to fulfil her dreams for a better life.
– Dazzle Madera Nierva for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
We stay with neighbours of different races and religions. And of course, our clothes preference is different too but we all live in harmony.
– Ana Rohana for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
At Botanic Garden, Singapore. Kids enjoy chasing and catching the birds and turtles, they learn to feed and appreciate the animals and diverse nature. This is a favourite place for the kids after school.
– Loida Natividad for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
Tan Teng Niah is a colourful Chinese house in Little India. In this photo, you can see the mixture of different races and nationalities being happy together in Singapore.
– Juliet Robles Salvideo for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
Harmony in diversity always comes in differences. Whether it’s people or an object. Nature always teaches us to be harmonious in every aspect of life. And this chillies and tomato have different tastes but if it blends it can create a magical flavour that brings people together. It’s the basic ingredients of sambal that everyone loves.
– Eli Nur Fadilah for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
I took this photo during the Thaipusam Festival, as we all know that in Singapore there are different religions so it means we can witness how each religion celebrates their faith. Not only that, but it also teaches us to respect one another’s faith and to live in harmony.
– Sugiarti for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
Marriage for our customs is sacred, which can only be done once in a lifetime. Only death can separate, therefore at weddings we beautify ourselves for a document in our life which can later be shared with our children and grandchildren.
– Aminiyati for ‘Beauty in Diversity’ Category
Empowerment for me is like finding your own light, recognising your own strength, brushing it up and shining it on yourself.
– Ana Rohana for ‘EmpowHERment’ Category
Your life will change the moment you decide to step out from your comfort zone and take a step forward to bettering yourself. Life is constantly changing. How to face the changes? Is to challenge yourself to fight every battle in any circumstances.
– Lina Porras for ‘EmpowHERment’ Category
When you have the power to help others don’t hesitate to reach out your hand. People need compassion. Let’s empower each other.
– Lina Porras for ‘EmpowHERment’ Category
Once, my friend ever said to me, why you go study on your day off? Just like flower plants that need fertiliser to give beautiful and colourful flower. Studying at Aidha is like empowering myself to take a chance to learn (giving food to my brain). It taught me confidence to speak up my mind and now, I can communicate better with my family even we are far away.
– Nurul Adim Edoh for ‘EmpowHERment’ Category

Everyone can be a photographer!  Take up Aidha’s invitation and give voice to your emotions, observations and insights.
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