Where the children sleep is a series of photographs by Photographer James Mollison who was born in Kenya and brought up in the UK. As Complexd Celebrates new life in our 1st Anniversary issue, it is good to reflect on the harsh realities of some children around the world.
“The project became a vehicle to think about poverty and wealth, about the relationship of children to their possessions, and the power of children – or lack of it – to make decisions about their lives. I hope these images help other children to think about inequality around the world, and perhaps start to figure out how they may respond.” – James Mollison
Jasmine, 4, Kentucky, USA
Her bedroom is full of crowns and sashes that she has won in beauty pageants. She has entered more than 100 competitions. Her spare time is taken up with rehearsals, and she practices her stage routines every day with a trainer. Jazzy would like to be a rock star when she grows up.
Indira, 7 , Kathmandu, 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. 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.
Kaya, 4, Tokyo, Japan
Her bedroom is lined from floor to ceiling with clothes and dolls. Kaya has 30 dresses and coats, 30 pairs of shoes, and numerous wigs. Her favourite foods are meat, potatoes, strawberries, and peaches. She wants to be a cartoonist when she grows up.
Douha, 10, Palestinian refugee camp, Hebron in the West Bank
She shares a room with her five sisters. Her brother, Mohammed, killed himself and 23 civilians in a suicide attack against the Israelis in 1996. Afterwards, the Israeli military destroyed the family home. Douha has a poster of Mohammed on her wall.
Thais, 11, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
She shares a bedroom with her sister. They live in the Cidade de Deus (City of God) neighbourhood, which used to be notorious for its gang rivalry and drug use. Since the 2002 film City of God, it has undergone major improvements. Thais is a fan of Felipe Dylon, a pop singer, and has posters of him on her wall. She would like to be a model.
Nantio, 15, Rendille tribe, Northern Kenya
She has two brothers and two sisters. Her home is a tent-like dome made from cattle hide and plastic, with little room to stand. There is a fire in the middle, around which the family sleeps. Nantio’s chores include looking after goats, chopping firewood, and fetching water. Nantio is hoping a moran (warrior) will select her for marriage. She has a boyfriend now, but it is not unusual for a Rendille woman to have several boyfriends before marriage. First, she will have to undergo circumcision, as is the custom.
View more from this series in the Where the Children Sleep book.