Sweet 16

A personal project seeking the wisdom of women over 60. Asking, What advice would you give your 16-year-old self?

The project was a part of HeadOn 2014 Festival


The story behind Sweet 16

I have been driven by a desire to do something to be involved in the wave of voices crying out against violence against women and girls. I have always been concerned with the representation of women and girls in society through our stories, expectations, media and beliefs.

In the aftermath of the gang rape and murder of the young woman in India, it seems women around the world have become more united. With the knowledge “one in three women on the planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime, that’s one billion women” [1] I knew I wanted to present a positive representation of women.

I want to be a part of the voice that validates and acknowledges the contribution women play in society. I had been looking to begin a photographic portrait project celebrating that contribution and speaking to women of all ages. A project that would demonstrate the wisdom, knowledge and resilience of women.

The idea of interviewing women over 60 came about after watching a short health education clip of melanoma survivors. The survivors were speaking to themselves as young people, telling him or her self what they need to do to avoid the illness. The idea resonated with me.

I chose to speak with older women because as we age we have even less currency in society. I saw I could ask women over 60 what advice they would give to themselves aged 16 thereby providing a wonderful opportunity to learn from the experiences, wisdom, humour and resilience of these gracious women and provide an access point of reflection and dialogue to women of all ages and the wider community as a whole.

The exhibition is dedicated to my mother Pauline May (nee Kitchen)

[1] OneBillionRising.org

I have a small Facebook Community Page dedicated to female empowerment, equity and social justice. I post things of interest from time to time. Feel free to join