This exhibition celebrates the 10th anniversary of Photo Gallery Asblvzw, a beautiful non-profit space and education center in the heart of Brussels, Belgium. It's an honor to be exhibiting my series "Independent Mothers" along works by Sébastien deVille, Yenci Kiss, Valentina Stellino, and Constantin Schlachter.
In 2014, displaced Syrians in neighboring southern Turkey welcomed me into their temporary homes. I met widowed women who shared not just their fear of the future for their families but also shared what little they have left to help other Syrians in need. Determined peers worn down by war considered the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in search of stability and acceptance. In midst of trauma and rage over the senseless cost of the conflict, there was a serious display of illegitimi non carborundum style resilience and solidarity.
Not long after, a partnership with ACTED, a french humanitarian NGO delivering emergency relief and logistical support internationally, led me to work in Syrian refugee camps and IDP (internally displaced people) camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Witnessing thousands in limbo living off limited rations for years throw a feast together at a moment's notice when a new influx of long-traveled, tired and hungry Kobani refugees arrive at Kawergosk Camp was incredibly moving—something I'll never forget.
When I returned home to New York and unpacked my gear, I struggled with the meaning of the limited time I was able to spend there. Recurring headlines and news footage from the conflict confirms what we already know—that this is one of the most desperate humanitarian crisis of our time. What spending time with Syrian friends confirmed for me however, is that relationships bridge divide and understanding. "A tragedy of this scale demands solidarity beyond funding. Put simply, we need more countries to share the load by taking a greater share of refugees from what has become the biggest displacement crisis of a generation," to quote Filippo Grandi, UNHCR High Commissioner for Refugees.
As this conflict continues past its five year mark, I hope we will work harder to welcome and forge relationships with those on the outside. To isolate individuals is to isolate the tragedy and ultimately overlook our shared humanity.
Below are a few unpublished images from Syrian refugee camps in Iraq made in the fall of 2014:
As my latest exhibition at the National Museum of Iceland / Þjóðminjasafn Íslands comes to a close next weekend, I must thank everyone involved in the project, the staff at the museum and the photo community in Reykjavík for the welcome, particularly visionaries of the Icelandic Photography Festival. What an honor to share this work with my "mothers" and their families, as well as countless other mothers who have since reached out to me since the unveiling of this series.
This monumental museum at the heart in Reykjavík has been the ideal venue for showcasing this work. Fielding questions from locals along with curious foreign visitors at the museum during my artist talk last month offered a tangible window into the kind of cross-cultural dialogue we could and should be having about gender equality, and how societies can change and adapt to the needs of the population. I'm proud of the fact that this series highlighting the strength and independence of single mothers in Iceland can bring to question the treatment of single mothers elsewhere in the global community.
Listen to my interview with National Public Radio of Iceland (RÚV) in English with Icelandic translation here: http://www.ruv.is/frett/sjalfstaedar-frekar-en-einstaedar-maedur
When my Aunt Helen phoned me last week to say her husband had passed away from his long struggle with cancer, I traveled to Houston to be with her. For the past seven years, Helen was a devoted nurse and caretaker, never leaving his side when she wasn't working full-time as a drapery seamstress.
Lee lived a storied life and traversed the globe as a camera man working for Chinese TV stations. He loved to be in front of the camera however, just about as much as he loved working behind it. Enlarged photographs of Lee in his element hang on nearly every wall in every room at their home. I had spent a year living at this house when I was ten-years-old. Twenty years later, not much about this place has changed besides the notable addition of some memorabilia from the few vacations they've since taken together—personalized decorative plates from a floating market in Thailand; an Elvis wall clock from Nashville. The quintessential foil to my more introverted aunt, Lee was vivacious and outspoken with an enduring child-like enthusiasm and curiosity.
Below are some images from my visit with them last summer, shortly before Uncle Lee could no longer speak or stand. Last time I saw him, he was eager to tell tales and share photographs from his youth. Then I remember a long silence, as he stared into his collection of memories. This afternoon, my aunt and I will bid a final tribute to her companion and remember him for the way he was, before his illness overtook him.
My editor at The New Yorker informed me not long ago that Independent Mothers made it into Photo Booth's top ten hall of fame for most clicks, and was picked up by The New York Times in their “What We’re Reading” column. Internazionale in Italy and the Stuttgarter Zeitung in Germany was also quick to pick up the series. The overall response to this project has been overwhelming, and I believe the interest is due largely to the project's ability to highlight the strength and independence of single mothers in Iceland while bringing to question the treatment of single mothers elsewhere. Mere minutes after the post went online, the Embassy of Iceland in the US re-tweeted it, lauding "the strong women of Iceland", setting an example for the rest.
So grateful for an incredible exhibition and all who came out to the opening in Hamilton! None of this would have happened without good friends and volunteers who were willing to pitch in, assist with transportation, installation and take down of a epic show with near ninety images in one action-packed week in Canada. It's an honor to be named Alumni of the Year and receive the Distinguished Alumni Award. Thanks RUC for your support of this exhibition!
Friends in Hamilton, Ontario and beyond, it's my pleasure to bring you an epic reincarnation of last year's solo exhibition "A Floating Population" at MOCA museum in NYC, this weekend only at #SuperCrawl2015 the largest art crawl event of the year!
Except this time the venue won't be a polished museum, the exhibition will be gloriously re-imagined in an expansive vacant furniture show room (formerly Ricca's Furniture) at the center of the one and only James St. in Hamilton with an expected near 200,000 art crawl attendees.
Around 90 images from "A Floating Population" will be on display Sept 11-12, for 2 days only! It takes much longer to transport and install the show, just to give you an idea of the scope of our ambition!
It's especially a joy and privilege to bring this show to Hamilton and to you, friends who have rallied and supported me through so much, but have not been able to travel long distances to shows in NY and abroad. This show is for you, and I'm looking forward to seeing you there!
This Friday, Sept 11th -- 7-9pm
245 James Street N., Hamilton, ON
*Street entrance to show on 2nd floor (above The Forge)
Hamilton Spectator feature
I had dreamed not long ago that I would find the ideal venue in Iceland to debut this personal project, on June 19th, 2015, the 100th anniversary date of Women's Suffrage in Iceland, when a number of women in the country were granted voting rights for the first time.
With utmost respect and gratitude for all the single mothers who welcomed me into their families and lives, sharing stories over meals and coffee, your generosity of spirit and nurture got me through during the dark winter months of Skammdegi this winter in Ólafsfjörður, Iceland.
Also, a special thanks to Listhús í Fjallabyggð in Ólafsfjörður and the fantastic Mjólkurbúðin Gallery... I could not have asked for better enablers and supporters of this work.
So, it is with great pleasure I say... the dream has been realized! And it's damn good to be back. More to come... and be sure to check back in a few days when the series will be up online. If you enjoyed following my experience of short winter days (see: New Yorker), you can now follow on Instagram as I share glimpses of long summer days touring Iceland!
Look for Awhereness in the latest issue of Incandescent, a color film zine published by Pine Island Press, Portland Oregon. It is now available for purchase online, in these shops, and at the LA Zine Fest in a couple weeks! Don't miss the series on view in the Take Ten exhibition along with the work of nine other women photographers at ICP's Rita K. Hillman Education Gallery in New York City.
Thank you Feature Shoot and Sukruti Anah Staneley for writing this feature! Excerpt from FS:
"For her work Awhereness, Annie Ling, a Taipei-born photographer from New York, spent two months traveling through parts of Romania and Moldova to meet with the survivors of sex trafficking and listen to their stories. Using a medium format camera, Ling tries to eschew sensational images and instead approaches her subjects with a sense of quiet, acting as a listener. Through her project, she focuses on where trafficking happens and how people overcome this chapter in their life. Ling’s work traces the effect of such spaces on these women and how it shapes them."
Awhereness is currently on view as part of Take Ten, a group exhibition at ICP, from January 17 – March 15, 2015.
Friends, it's my pleasure to invite you to the opening tomorrow of two groups shows I'm excited to be part of. I'll be in Ólafsfjörður but will celebrate in spirit in NYC also, with my project Awhereness in the company of strong works by women photographers who are dear friends and colleagues. Don't miss it!
School at ICP, 1114 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York
On View: January 17–March 15, 2015
Opening Reception: January 16 | Friday | 6 pm
Ten photographers, all alumnae of the School at ICP's Full-Time Programs, tackle critical issues facing women and children today, from sex trafficking in Eastern Europe to child beauty contests, racial identity, personal loss, and digital identities.
Listhús í Fjallabyggð Gallery, Ægisgata 625, Ólafsfjörður, Iceland
On View: January 17-25, 2015 | 5-8 pm Every Thursday to Sunday
Opening Reception: 16 January | 8-11 pm
Listhus artists in residence present a multi-disciplinary exhibition of work created during the dark winter, featuring individual reflections on local encounters, mysterious landscapes and indoor living in North Iceland.
Thanks @newyorkerphoto for a fun collaboration on Instagram this past week, and thanks to all of you for the great response and feedback. I had an absolute blast! The adventure isn't over quite yet... I've resumed #SKAMMDEGI posts at @annielingphoto. Check out the work featured today on TNY Photo Booth!
Starting today, for the week of January 5-11, I will be taking over The New Yorker magazine's Instagram feed, posting images from Ólafsfjörður and around, exploring the environs and recording my discoveries during my Skammdegi / dark winter, or short sunlight winter residency at Listhús í Fjallabyggð.
Follow me on @newyorkerphoto and @annielingphoto for the duration of my winter residency in northern Iceland!!
In the meantime, here's a little video I made in Siglufjörður (a slightly larger town 15 minutes north of Ólafsfjörður) on New Year's Eve with new friends ringing the new year!
Tomorrow, I'll be embarking on a wild, new adventure and challenge. As a recipient of the Skammdegi AIR Award (and my first artist residency to date), I can't help but confess that utter thrill mixed with mild fear is setting in as I prepare to leave the sunshine behind for two months of cold, dark isolation in northern Iceland. Brrrrr just thinking about it.
Skammdegi in Icelandic means dark winter or short sunlight winter. December 21 is the shortest day in Iceland. The sunlight is from 11am to 3pm only. Listhús í Fjallabyggð where I'll be based is located in Olafsfjordur, north Iceland, which is surrounded by mountains. That means during December and January, the sun never can rise up higher than the mountains. As a result, the lands are always covered by a mysterious reflective lighting. Amazing, right?
This newly established award will allow me to maximize the possibility of working in dark winter. I've got several ideas I'm pumped to explore and some exciting things lined up. But I'm predicting what's really going to keep me from going mad will be the chance to engage, learn from and collaborate with ten other incredible multidisciplinary artists joining in on the fun, also flying in from afar this winter.
Alright, I gotta get back to packing! Looking forward to posting updates from there, so stay tuned. Things are about to get interesting...
This September, I had the privilege of meeting and working with displaced Syrian women seeking refuge in neighboring Turkey. Their stories and resilience is moving, and being a witness to women supporting women in displaced communities is what I hope to continue doing, as soon as I can find more funding and support to go back and expand the work in other neighboring countries.
In the meantime, here is a first preview of the beginning of this ongoing project, which was made possible thanks to the NYFA Photography Fellowship.
The war in Syria has displaced more than 9 million internally while each day, families and a majority of Syrian women and children join the near 3 million seeking asylum in neighboring countries. Syria, the biggest humanitarian crisis in the world today, now enters its fourth year.
Gender-based violence, one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations and public health issues, escalates among displaced communities. As the Syrian refugee population continues to grow exponentially and resources have begun to diminish, harsh living conditions and circumstances impose a threat to young women who may face increased pressure to enter into early marriages. Women whose often forced reliance on male family members leave them isolated at home and removed from public safe-spaces to socialize. A UNHCR’s Participatory Assessment found “Women spoke openly about how their husbands were physically or emotionally abusive, with many stating that such behavior results from an increased level of tension due to poor living conditions and the current crisis in Syria.”
The recent 5 day FBBW set of images and the stories behind them mark in a nutshell some struggle and growth as a photographer these past five years. It's a pleasure to share again this selection from my archive with you, in case you missed it on Facebook.
Before I dig into these images and what they mean to me, I want to thank the one and only Juliana Beasley for nominating me for this challenge. We are all so busy and while there are much more pressing things in life than posting B&W photos from our past onto a platform like FB, this experience really opened up an opportunity to reconnect with friends that have helped shaped and supported my work... Carving out some time to reflect on the past has been very revealing and I'm better for having accepted the challenge.
I also nominated five terrific colleagues: Nadia Sablin, Katja Heinemann, Katy Haas, Devin Yalkin, and Gabriele Stabile who do some extraordinary work. Enjoy!
Tomorrow at Hester Street Collaborative Annual Benefit Party, three women will be honored for their work in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, NY. Incredibly, I will be standing next to these two remarkable honorees: Damaris Reyes, the Executive Director of Good Old Lower East Side who provides significant leadership on local community-driven land-use issues, and Signe Nielsen, a leading landscape architect and urban designer in New York since 1978.
It's truly humbling to be recognized by an organization like HSC whose mission is to empower residents of underserved communities by providing them with the tools and resources necessary to have a direct impact on shaping their built environment. HSC does this through a hands-on approach that combines design, education, and advocacy.
As it stands, I'm beyond grateful to be working in a field I'm very passionate about. To have had all the opportunities and support thus far from dear friends and colleagues who have fed and fueled me along the way is especially encouraging. I share this honor with them and with my community, who inspire me and give me the courage to continue doing what I love.
Sometime within the next 24 hours, my friend Zoe will be induced and life would never be the same again. Here, I reminisce back to our magical afternoon together last month around her home in Sunset Park, Brooklyn.
Everywhere we went, all eyes were on her. A stranger named Efrain sitting next to us at the local diner came up to her and embraced her with pure tenderness and enthusiasm. Another stranger, waved us over to make pictures in his sexy new car. It all felt like a dream.
So excited to have my work in the official launch of the audiovisual performance THE SMELL OF DUST, taking place at the Gallery KUNSTHALLE in São Paulo, Brazil on April 16th, 2014 at 8pm.
The soundtrack of the projection composed exclusively for TSOD will be executed live by the Brazilian musician BASS N' INSANE. And of course a big shout out to all the talented photographers and musicians involved in the project, not least my friend Sue-Elie Andrade-Dé who is the mastermind behind all of this!
Check out my recent interview with TSOD on my latest series "Anonymous" and this great teaser: