Pomegranates grow in winter
Book published with edition clandestin in October 2023.
Order the book here!
Faded memories connect me to Kyrgyzstan, a country in Central Asia where I lived during my early childhood. Twenty years later, I wanted to know who the girls I had been in Kindergarten with had become and what their realities, hopes and dreams were. Over several trips between 2018 and 2019, I met women who allowed me to better understand what it means to be a young woman in Kyrgyz society today. In an ongoing exchange, we collaborated to create portraits in the hopes of visualizing their experiences and daily lives.
The post-Soviet generation in Kyrgyzstan is challenged by the reshaping of the country’s future. Historically, Kyrgyz women have occupied important positions in their communities. Yet, as in so many places around the world, gender inequality remains deeply rooted within the society. Depending on family and education, the role of women varies, but most often they face the expectation of becoming the perfect daughter-in-law, wife, and mother. Though higher education is now encouraged, the pressure for women to marry in their early twenties is still strong for many. In rural areas, bride kidnapping is a reality and seen as a daily threat, as the law against it is often not enforced. Despite these challenges, more and more young women are standing up for change and recognition in their country.
Between my trips to Kyrgyzstan, I asked the women I had met to send me images of their daily life. They then created collages with the prints on my next trip. Through discussions, interviews, and a collaborative approach, this project attempts to document the great differences in character, appreciation of female roles, and striving for independence of Kyrgyz women.