In No Longer Without you we will be a witness to scathing, hesitant, sometimes fearful and precious meetings between a member of the traditional Muslim community and a less traditional family member.
I photographed fifteen brave community members who confront their relatives. These photo's, exhibited accross Amsterdam, prompted many responses. After seeing a daubed photo I thought: our dialoge starts here!
I went into the neighbourhoods of six different Dutch cities and hung the portraits in the livingrooms of Muslim families. I started a conversation and asked them to respond and I invited them to share there responses on the photos. These editted editions of the photo's were shown in several community centers in the Netherlands.
This photo series came about through these series were constituted with a cooperation between writer and actress Nazmiye Oral. We are both Turkish and grew up in an Muslim 'we-culture'. This meant a clash between the 'I' in us and the existing structures. There is no space for the autonomous 'I', with its own rules, to love and still remain within your culture.
These two structures seem to be able to exist next to each other and we wanted to merge them, hoping that they could exist within and among each other.
The people you see in the photographs have had, or are trying to repair, an intimate relationship with one another. These people allowed me to persuade them to openly display their conflict, sorrow or even solidarity. The portraits are about everybody, not just the Muslim community. Speaking love from your heart is the most beautiful thing there is. Choosing one means giving up the other. After all the rule is: If I behave differently from what the community and my family expect, I bring shame on them and will be disowned.
This series is called No Longer Without You, and is a product of the desire to be ourselves without having to forget our place in the family and in the community, so that a free space can emerge, a space with one rule only: love.