Still from My Filipino (Liryc Dela Cruz, 2020)

July 2 at 4 pm at the Spanish Academy in Rome.

In the second session of the Summer Intensive of In Qualche Luogo Lontano: Roma (In Some Far Place: Roma), Liryc Dela Cruz presents Il Mio Filippino: To Those Who Care To Feel.

In qualche luogo lontano: Roma is the title of the program that takes place in Rome within Space is The Place/The Place is Space. This research project, initiated by Bulegoa z/b in 2018, aims to analyse the role of art as a critical practice that offers tools to stop, look and position oneself in the world, to generate situations and imagine ways of living and producing space. Structured through periodic meetings, it takes various forms, such as presentations, reading sessions, walks, actions on the territory and various artistic productions.


The expression “My Filipino” was coined in the late 1980s by the Italian upper-middle classes after the arrival of Filipinos in Italy in the 1970s. The term “Filipino” is used to refer to a person of any nationality that works in the cleaning and care sector. From the 1970s to date, Italy has played host to 300,000 Filipinos, making it the country with the largest Filipino diaspora of the European Union. Surprisingly, the majority of Filipinos in Europe, despite being able to apply for Spanish citizenship – since the Philippines was a Spanish colony for more than 300 years – lived in Italy due to religious connection and clan-influenced migration. Thus, the Catholic Church was an important factor involved in bringing the first Filipino emigrants to Italy. The church began to match domestic workers to employers in a practice that continues to the present day.

How is this workforce being neglected and ignored? Through the institutionalized devaluation of domestic workers, especially by the government, the power dynamics between the employer and the worker, especially in the case of undocumented workers, through racialization, through the weakness of labour laws and to the resistance ingrained in their bodies due to the colonial past, this workforce is being neglected, silenced and rejected. Thus, society forgets the importance of these people.

Il Mio Filippino: To Those Who Care To Feel proposes and explores different forms of presentation and performances of Dela Cruz’s ongoing artistic research. The guiding force of this work, since its inception during a residency linked to the Torino Social Impact Art Award 2020 and to Artissima, is to confront the invisibility of domestic workers, a labour force which is simultaneously much-loved and forgotten. The project consists of filming the caring gestures and cleaning methodologies of “Filipina” domestic workers and – at a later stage – dissecting and studying the gestures and movements to identify them and translate them into dance steps, to create a choreography using the basic movements of a dance known as b’laan, which comes from a tribe in the southern Philippines. Documentation and dance seek to recognize and amplify the struggle and the invisibility of domestic workers, as well as to decolonize the body, the movements and the gestures of work and care of entrenched colonial inheritances.

During the session, Liryc Dela Cruz will introduce the logic behind this work-in-progress and will contextualize it in relation to Françoise Vergès’ text “Capitalocene, Waste, Race, and Gender”, published on e-flux in May 2019.

Liryc Dela Cruz (1992).  A filmmaker and artist from Tupi, Cotabato del Sur in Mindanao, Philippines, currently based in Rome, Italy. His works have been selected and screened at different international film festivals and artistic events in Locarno, Berlinale, New York, Taiwan, etc. His films are thematically related to his origins, history and personal psychology. He has been a contributor to Philippine independent filmmaker Lav Diaz and a student of Apichatpong Weerasethakul. In 2020, he was selected as one of the Young Emerging Filmmakers at Berlinale Talents at the 70th Berlin International Film Festival. Recently, Dela Cruz was selected by the Teatro di Roma to participate in the INFRA Project for 2020-2021. He has also received the 2020 Artissima and Torino Social Impact Art Award, for his project Il Mio Filippino: To Those Who Care To Feel, a project that focuses on the invisibility of Filipino domestic workers in Italy and other territories. Dela Cruz and his project Il Mio Filippino have been selected by the Cité internationale des arts in Paris, France, for their 2022 residency program.

In qualche luogo lontano: Roma is a project carried out within the framework of the MAEC-AECID Scholarships for Art, Education and Culture for the academic year 2020-2021 within the scholarship program for the Royal Academy of Spain in Rome.