Rosem Morton
Rosem Morton
Rosem Morton
Rosem Morton

Filipino nurses account for 31.5% of COVID-19 nursing deaths in the United States, and yet they continue to be faceless heroes in the ongoing coverage of the pandemic.

Filipino nurses have been on the frontlines of many health crises over the years and it is not by accident. Healthcare in the Philippines was largely modeled after the American system during the U.S. occupation, which lasted 48 years. This led Filipinos to become nurses abroad rather than in their home country.

My project, Diaspora on the Frontlines, documents Filipino nursing families—all of whom represent the large population that has been historically shaped to fill the U.S. shortage of nurses. This project is comprised of documentary images of their lives, along with historical and present day diptychs to illustrate the missing and present-day stories of these migrants.



US Article:

Philippines Article:

Youtube link:

Podcast episode:

Memorial Website of fallen Filipino nurses from COVID-19:

Artist Bios

  • Rosem Morton

    Rosem Morton is a Filipina visual artist, nurse, and educator based in Baltimore, Maryland. Morton utilizes lens-based storytelling, and community engagement to examine intimacy, health, and resilience amidst the prevalence of gender violence and cultural displacement.

    Morton is a National Geographic Explorer, who has spoken at numerous institutions, and whose work has been published in National GeographicThe New York Times, The Washington Post, ProPublica, Reuters, NPR, and CNN. Morton is a member of Authority Collective, Women Photograph, and Women Photojournalists of Washington.


  • Photoville


    Founded in 2011 in Brooklyn, NY, Photoville was built on the principles of addressing cultural equity and inclusion, which we are always striving for, by ensuring that the artists we exhibit are diverse in gender, class, and race.

    In pursuit of its mission, Photoville produces an annual, city-wide open air photography festival in New York City, a wide range of free educational community initiatives, and a nationwide program of public art exhibitions.

    By activating public spaces, amplifying visual storytellers, and creating unique and highly innovative exhibition and programming environments, we join the cause of nurturing a new lens of representation.

    Through creative partnerships with festivals, city agencies, and other nonprofit organizations, Photoville offers visual storytellers, educators, and students financial support, mentorship, and promotional & production resources, on a range of exhibition opportunities.

    For more information about Photoville visit,

  • Friends of the Philippines

    Friends of the Philippines

Diaspora On The Frontlines

 archive : 2021

Featuring: Rosem Morton

Presented by: Photoville, Friends of the Philippines
  • Photoville
  • Friends of the Philippines


View Location Details Brooklyn Bridge Park – Empire Fulton Ferry Lawn

1 Water Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201

Number 11 on the official photoville map Click to download this year's map

This location is part of Brooklyn Bridge Park
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This project was supported by the National Geographic COVID-19 Emergency Fund for Journalists.


Archival Images are from Bjoring Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry/Ren Capucao, Creative Commons and Library of Congress.

This website was made possible thanks to the generous support and partnership of Photowings