On a bright and sunny Wednesday, I took a trip to Doylestown with my friend Shannon. We went to see the exhibit “Where Children Sleep” by James Mollison . Each image was large, beautiful and simple. A professional and crystal clear head shot of a child sitting next to a single image of the place where that child “sleeps.” It was an impressive exhibition showing children from all over the world and the places they sleep. For a moment, he allowed us to peek into the daily lives of these young people. It was a powerful reminder that each person has a story; that we should see each person, each child, as an individual with a background, a story, joys, hopes, pains, sorrows and struggles. In one of the several rooms holding the images, the museum viewers are invited to write to a child or children from the exhibition and ask them a question about their lives or tell them something we would want them to know. This was a chance to interact, even if one sided and it allowed us, the viewer, to partake in this photographic piece. As a human being, it is nearly impossible to leave the exhibition without bringing some of the children, and their stories, along with you. I still think of the “Romanian Boy” who sleeps with his family on a mattress in the middle of a field waiting for his father to find a job that will stick or Jasmine, a pageant girl from Kentucky surrounded by princesses, pageant crowns and pink staring out at us with a forced smile and a layer of makeup to hide her true age…four. I left the exhibit thinking of the children and the lives they will go on to lead. Will they be okay? Will they survive into adulthood? Will they break out of the perfect mold their parents have forced them into to finally realize their own true identifies? Will they leave behind a life of theft or drugs or hopelessness and go on to raise a family, find a way, a better alternative, a better life? We may never know and that is the power of this exhibit. Mollison’s exhibit will be up at the James Michener museum until June 29th, 2014. If possible, I encourage you to check this exhibit out or at the very least, read more about it online. I’d love to hear your own personal thoughts about the exhibition. Leave a comment or shoot me an email!
James Michner exhibit page:
James Mollison artist page:
“Where Children Sleep”http://jamesmollison.com/books/where-children-sleep/