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© James Mollison, ca. 2010s, Where Children Sleep

#1: Lamine, 12, lives in Senegal. He is a pupil at the village Koranic school, where no girls are allowed. He shares a room with several other boys. The beds are basic, some supported by bricks for legs. At six every morning, the boys begin work on the school farm where they learn how to dig, harvest maize, and plow the fields using donkeys. In the afternoon, they study the Koran. In his free time, Lamine likes to play football with his friends.

#2: Indira, seven, lives with her parents, brother, and sister near Kathmandu in Nepal. Her house has only one room, with one bed, and one mattress. At bedtime, the children share the mattress on the floor. Indira has worked at the local granite quarry since she was three. The family is very poor so everyone has to work. There are 150 other children working at the quarry. Indira works six hours a day and then helps her mother with household chores. She also attends school, a 30-minute walk away. Her favorite food is noodles. She would like to be a dancer when she grows up.

“Where Children Sleep- stories of diverse children around the world, told through portraits and pictures of their bedrooms. When Fabrica asked me to come up with an idea for engaging with children’s rights, I found myself thinking about my bedroom: how significant it was during my childhood, and how it reflected what I had and who I was. It occurred to me that a way to address some of the complex situations and social issues affecting children would be to look at the bedrooms of children in all kinds of different circumstances. From the start, I didn’t want it just to be about ‘needy children’ in the developing world, but rather something more inclusive, about children from all types of situations. It seemed to make sense to photograph the children themselves, too, but separately from their bedrooms, using a neutral background. My thinking was that the bedroom pictures would be inscribed with the children’s material and cultural circumstances ’ the details that inevitably mark people apart from each other ’ while the children themselves would appear in the set of portraits as individuals, as equals ’ just as children.” (James Mollison)

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