The topic of women and war has taken photographer Marissa Roth to numerous countries over a span of 29 years. It began in 1984 in the former Yugoslavia, home of her Jewish grandparents, murdered by Hungarian Fascists in 1942, and a 1988 Los Angeles Times photo assignment about the plight of Afghan women refugees. After photographing women war refugees in Albania in 1999, she realized that the focus of the immediate and permanent effects of war on women was a recurring theme in her work, and she chose then to formalize it into a project. The resulting exhibition features photographs and stories of the women portrayed and how the war irrevocably altered their lives.
“This project brought me face to face with hundreds of women who endured and survived war and its ancillary experiences of loss, pain and unimaginable hardship. I was compelled to put faces and give voices to the women’s side of war. There is no sign of blood or guns in any of the images, just the record of lives lived with a never-ending post-war backdrop.”
The exhibition was curated by Howard Spector, Los Angeles, CA
When humanity is betrayed by madness, war often follows. This project has been about my reconciliation of man’s need for war and the inadvertent upheaval imposed on the women who are directly affected by it. The slow-burning post-war truth that I have learned, is that in the end, war shows up men’s weaknesses and women’s strengths. Natural caretakers, women pick up the pieces, turning broken lives into replanted gardens.The bridge of anguish is crossed innumerable times from both sides, yet the perspective is always different because of gender roles, cultures and historical context.
Death doesn’t chose sides, but choosing life after war is quite another matter. A number of the women I have met around the world gained impossible strength from their heartache and losses and turned their gaze towards activism, advocating for social justice, peace and teaching tolerance. Their process was not always immediate or easy but came to them slowly as they faced post-war hardship, and healed physical and psychological wounds.
The women who I have chosen to feature here include activists and the unknown, reflecting the spectrum of women who embody ferocious spirits and quiet strength. Each in their own way chose life and made an indelible impression on me.
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Marissa Roth's ONE PERSON CRYING: Women and War
Traveling Exhibtion represented by photokunst