Amelia’s Magazine | Middlesex University: Ba Hons Photography Graduate Show 2011 Review

Pearl Rustean young mother Madonna
Young Mother as Madonna by Pearl Rustean.

I whisked through the Middlesex University graduate shows at the Free Range Art and Design Show on Friday, and stopping only when something really caught my eye. First up two photography graduates:

Bernat Millet
I was immediately drawn to Bernat Millet‘s work – Portraying the Saharawis ‘The last thing you lose is hope’ which documents with great sensitivity the plight of the Saharawis of the Western Sahara, buy information pills who for more than 35 years have lived on Algerian soil where they have become more or less permanent refugees, without the right to develop their own culture or even feed themselves properly. The results of close contact with landmines are just one of the more visible effects of their daily hardships and yet they remain stoic and determined to return to their homeland.

Bernat Millet Saharawis sahara
Bernat Millet Saharawis sahara family

Above are just a few of Bernat Millet‘s beautiful big prints, many more of which appeared in his degree show. These are professional standard portraits from someone who is clearly already at the top of his game – the gorgeous pastel colours in direct contrast to the shattered lives he reveals. I don’t think that Bernat Millet will struggle to find work, whichever direction he choses to pursue. I also love these unexpectedly tender portraits of Mumbai sleepers which I found on his website.

Bernat Millet mumbai_sleepers
Bernat Millet Mumbai sleeper

Pearl Rustean
I also liked the portraits of young mothers as Madonnas by Pearl Rustean, who herself is a young mother. Tired of negative portrayals she has reinterpreted the aesthetics of early renaissance paintings to create these very touching portraits in order to describe the close relationships of young mothers and their offspring today. As she writes ‘Young mothers are not just stereotypes. Many are successful and driven individuals who have chosen motherhood early in life and are proud of this choice and determined to do the best by themselves and their children. I hope these portraits are suggestive of the strength necessary in making this choice.‘ I can’t think of a better way to show this.

Pearl Rustean Madonna and child
Pearl Rustean Madonna young mother

The Middlesex University graduate shows continue until Monday 6th June 2011.

Categories ,Bernat Millet, ,Documentary Photography, ,Free Range, ,Free Range Art and Design Show, ,Graduate Shows, ,Madonnas, ,middlesex university, ,Motherhood, ,Mumbai sleepers, ,Pearl Rustean, ,photography, ,Portraying the Saharawis, ,Refugees, ,Saharawis, ,Western Sahara, ,Young Mothers

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