January 18 – April 21, 2019
The Grandmother Project (GMP) develops community approaches that promote positive and sustained improvements in the lives of girls, children, women, and families by building on existing cultural and community values, roles and assets in southern Senegal.
These photographs by Tara Rice are of grandmothers and young girls who are participating in the GMP in various Senegalese villages. Rice is a Brooklyn, NY-based photographer who studied at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. She focuses on photography projects related to education, gender equality, community service, and environmental conservation.
The larger exhibition currently on view, Stories Without an End: Power, Beauty, and Wisdom of Women in African Art of the Mehta Collection, was inspired in part by the work of the Grandmother Project which is both an American 501 c 3 non-profit and a Senegalese NGO with representatives throughout the U.S. and abroad. GMP primarily works in Senegal as well as in Mali, Sierra Leone, and the Gambia.
This work includes the bettering of maternal and child nutrition, reproductive health, and marriage standards. The exhibition title is inspired by the GMP initiative “stories without an ending,” which is a tool used to facilitate communication via the elders.
Married at age 17
Ami’s role with the Grandmother Project is to protect the young girls of her village. She sensitizes them to the dangers of early marriage and urges them to speak out if they don’t feel comfortable with the time that their parents want them to get married. She also explains and educates mothers on the dangers of female genital mutilation – a practice that has been a cultural tradition for centuries in Senegal. Once they identify that a young girl has a problem, the grandmothers of the community come together to discuss what to do as a group, and then confront the parents together. The parents rarely argue since elders are the most respected members of their community. Photograph by Tara Rice.